On Wednesday the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill strengthening Arkansas’ religious freedom laws.

H.B. 1615, the Conscience Protection Act by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R — Elm Springs) and Sen. Gary Stubblefield (R — Branch), makes important clarifications to the state Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The bill also helps prohibit religious discrimination against individuals, business owners, and organizations that want to follow their deeply held religious convictions.

In 2015 Gov. Hutchinson signed Arkansas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. That good law has been on the books for the past eight years — but it needs to be improved upon.

Over the past decade, we have seen wedding venuesbakeriesphotography studios, and florist shops come under fire, because their owners wanted to operate according to their deeply held convictions.

Our laws must protect religious liberty as much as possible. H.B. 1615 improves on good state law to help prevent the government from burdening the free exercise of religion in Arkansas.

If enacted, H.B. 1615 would provide Arkansans with some of the best religious freedom protections in the nation.

H.B. 1615 has already passed in the Arkansas House of Representatives, where it received very strong support. The bill now goes to the entire Arkansas Senate for a vote.