Sacramento, CA--In a surprise move welcomed by religious liberty advocates, it was announced late last night that Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed Assembly Bill (AB) 569. The bill would have greatly restricted the ability of religious institutions to hire and retain employees consistent with teachings on the sanctity of life.Pacific Justice Institute had strongly opposed the bill and was prepared to file suit with multiple plaintiffs, had it been signed. Brad Dacus, the president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “We are relieved that Gov. Brown chose not to extend choking state prohibitions into sacrosanct areas of religious life and ministry. It is essential that churches, ministries, and religious schools continue to have the freedom to expect employees to practice what is preached. This bill would have required—with heavy fines and even criminal penalties—religious institutions to tolerate employee behavior directly contradicting the organizational mission. This bill was deeply unconstitutional, and we are thankful it has been vetoed.”
San Rafael, CA--Representing Valley Baptist Church, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) has sued the City of San Rafael on the grounds that the city’s Paramedic Services Special Tax is unconstitutional as applied to the church.
Voters in San Rafael enacted the Special Tax via referendum by a two-thirds vote in 2010. Under the City’s Municipal Code, the City may tax non-residential structures within city limits at a rate of up to 14 cents per square foot. The City currently taxes such structures at a rate of 12 cents per square foot.
San Francisco, CA--The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) convinced San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to overturn a decision by the city’s Planning Commission allowing a medical cannabis dispensary (MCD) to operate near a church and a preschool.
The Board voted 9-2 to overturn the decision, which would have allowed The Apothecarium—a San Francisco-based medical marijuana chain backed by former Oakland mayor Jean Quan and her husband, Dr. Floyd Huen—to open an MCD at 2505 Noriega Street. It was a major victory for residents of the city’s Sunset District, who had repeatedly come out in force to Planning Commission and Board meetings to voice their opposition to the MCD operating across the street from the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit (Holy Spirit) and a block away from Ark of Hope Preschool (Ark of Hope).
Anaheim, CA--Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is excited to announce some significant changes to this year’s Celebration of Justice (COJ): 20 Years Defending Freedom!
This festive evening will feature as the keynote speaker* Greg Gutfeld—host of the hit Fox News Channel shows The Greg Gutfeld Show and The Five—and will be held at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim on October 28, 2017 from 6:00 to 9:30 p.m. (VIP reception begins at 5 p.m.).
Space is limited. Please visit PJI.org/COJ to purchase your table or tickets now, and join 500 prominent conservatives of Southern California along with religious and political leaders from across the state.
Las Vegas, NV--A street preacher who faced up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for exercising his First Amendment rights received justice recently when a local court dismissed his case.
Ron Cardiel, a Washington state resident who frequently travels to Las Vegas to preach the gospel on the sidewalks of the famed Las Vegas Strip, was charged in April with violating a Clark County ordinance that prohibits obstruction of sidewalks. Cardiel—aka “Brother Ron”—was not actually standing on the sidewalk, but near it. Pedestrians freely moved past him with ease, rarely if ever needing to sidestep around him.
Anaheim, CA--Pastor Greg Laurie and Todd Starnes will join this year’s Celebration of Justice (COJ), celebrating Pacific Justice Institute's (PJI) 20th anniversary!
Pastor Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, with campuses in California and Hawaii will join the COJ and accept the Passing the Torch Award for his steadfast commitment to evangelism through Harvest Crusades.
Sacramento, CA--The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a religious liberties defense organization, is demanding apologies and retractions from television and newspaper media outlets after PJI was listed alongside extremist white supremacist groups and linked to recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. No reporters reached out to PJI to verify their stories, which repeated information from the incendiary, discredited and far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The SPLC's false accusation that PJI is a hate group is calculated to provoke contempt and potential violence against PJI. PJI has never promoted or engaged in acts of violence against any person or group. The work of PJI includes the defense of victims of intolerance against individuals and institutions because of their faith. The case files of PJI's attorneys include the representation of immigrants fleeing religious persecution from Asia and the Middle East. During the last year lawyers for the organization have fought hospitals and government officials—in court—to prevent the removal of life-support from two children of African-American descent and a construction worker who is a Mexican immigrant. SPLC's attempts to associate PJI with violent racist hate groups is incendiary and dangerous.
San Francisco, CA--The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is appealing the San Francisco Planning Commission’s decision to grant a conditional use to a medical marijuana dispensary that wishes to set up shop in the city’s Sunset District, in violation of California’s Health and Safety Code.
Medical marijuana dispensaries (MMDs) have been legal in California for a number of years, and dispensaries that sell marijuana for recreational use became legalized last fall when California voters passed Prop. 64. However, the cultivation, possession, distribution, sale, and/or use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and even Prop. 64 prohibits MMDs from setting up shop within 600 feet of places where children congregate, such as day care centers and youth centers.
Bakersfield, CA--The latest move by a homeowners’ association in its efforts to curb religious activity by senior citizens is raising eyebrows and landing the HOA back in court.
Late last year, the HOA of Solera at Kern Canyon, a retirement community in Bakersfield, suspended three Bible studies and a Sunday worship service following a complaint by an atheist. After one of the believers filed suit just before Christmas, the HOA Board reluctantly allowed the four groups to resume meeting in the community clubhouse while the Board considered additional restrictions.