REFERENCE TITLE: adverse actions; religious; political beliefs





State of Arizona

House of Representatives

Fifty-sixth Legislature

First Regular Session





HB 2321


Introduced by

Representatives Kolodin: Bliss, Chaplik, Gress, Heap, Livingston, Marshall, McGarr, Montenegro, Parker B, Wilmeth, Senator Wadsack







An Act


amending title 12, chapter 7, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding article 3; relating to special proceedings involving the government.





Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 12, chapter 7, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding article 3, to read:


START_STATUTE12-851. Prohibiting adverse actions on the basis of religious or political beliefs, positions, association or expression; jurisdiction; civil action; definitions

A. A government agent may not take or participate in an adverse action against any natural person if the government agent's decision to do so is motivated in whole or in part by AN unlawful animus even if that natural person would otherwise properly be the subject of THE adverse action.

B. No court in this state has jurisdiction over an adverse action brought in violation of this section. 

C. All judgments and decisions rendered in violation of this section shall be set aside.

D. Any evidence obtained pursuant to a search or seizure that is in violation of this section is inadmissible in any administrative, civil or criminal proceeding.

E. An arrest that is made in violation of this section is invalid.

F. If a government agent violates subsection A of this section, the person whose rights are violated may bring a cause of action in state or federal court against both the government agent and the government entity that employs or contracts with the government agent, including this state, except that this state is not subject to a suit in federal court.  An action brought pursuant this subsection shall be commenced within four years after the conclusion of the administrative, civil or criminal proceeding or investigation that was motivated by an unlawful animus, including all appeals. It is not a defense to the cause of action that the person whose rights were violated would otherwise properly be the subject of the adverse action or that the adverse action resulted in an adverse judgment, decision, opinion, verdict or ruling against the person whose rights have been violated.

G. In any cause of action filed pursuant to subsection F of this section, a prevailing plaintiff SHALL recover declaratory relief, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, nominal damages, attorney fees and costs.

H. For the purposes of this section:

1. "Government agent" means any local, state or federal official who is employed by or contracts with government in this state at any level and who is acting in that capacity or any member, employee or contractor of a regulatory board or commission in this state at any level and who is acting in that capacity.

2. "Take or participate in an adverse action":

(a) means investigating any natural person, prosecuting any natural person, or directing that any proceeding of any sort that seeks any adverse administrative, civil or criminal action against any natural person be commenced or maintained.

(b) Does not include an ACTION that is commenced or maintained against a NATURAL PERSON IN THat PERSON'S official capacity. 

3. "unlawful animus" means A disagreement with or dislike of a person's religious or political beliefs, positions, associations or expression. END_STATUTE

Sec. 2. Legislative findings

The legislature finds that:

1. State and federal statutes, rules, laws and regulations are so numerous, broad and expansive that they allow for virtually any person to be targeted by the government for their violation.

2. This has facilitated a disturbing trend in recent years of politically motivated adverse actions being undertaken by government agents on both sides of the aisle against individuals because of disagreements with their beliefs, expression, associations or positions. Even when legally justified, such actions undermine, instead of promote, the rule of law and faith in our governing institutions.

3. The protections of the Arizona Constitution go beyond those of the first amendment.

4. The legislature has the authority to further defend first amendment protected activity beyond the bounds of the Arizona Constitution.

Sec. 3. Short title

This act may be cited as the "First Amendment Protection Act".