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California Considers ‘Religious Freedom Act’ in Response to Muslim Registry Proposal

SACRAMENTO -- One by one they pledged support for a bill that goes directly against President Donald Trump's campaign promise to create a Muslim registry.

"It will really quell the anxiety that's going on in the community," said Yannina Cassilas, CAIR legislative and government affairs coordinator and co-sponsor of the bill.

The California Religious Freedom Act, or SB 31, would ban local agencies from sharing personal information with the federal government for a database.

The bill's co-sponsors say their goal is to prevent religious persecution.

"We can't discriminate and target groups just based on faith and just based on national origin, it's ineffective," said Elica Vafaie, co-sponsor of SB 31.

A large, diverse group filled the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing to support concerned members of the Muslim community.

"It's important to us to stand with our Muslim sisters and brothers to show that they are equal to everybody else in this country," said David Mandel, with Jewish Voice for Peace.

The bill cleared the committee with a 6-0 vote, with just one Republican senator abstaining.

It was a promising sign for supporters.

"I think what we saw was a showing of solidarity among all types of communities, that we will stand together, and we won't stand for this type of discrimination and targeting," said Vafaie.

Other Republican lawmakers are concerned about the legislature's ongoing efforts to push back against the Trump administration.

"We're gonna do a lot better as a state if we try to work and find common ground with him in the best interest of our constituents instead of slugging him in the face at every political turn with every decision that he makes," said Senator Jeff Stone.