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Arizona Senate advances bills for religious groups

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By CRISTINA SILVA
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Senate has passed a trio of bills that seek to lower taxes for religious institutions and make it easier for people to sue over the First Amendment.

The Republican majority in the GOP-led Senate brushed aside Democratic concerns to pass Wednesday Senate Bill 1178, House Bill 2645 and House Bill 2446.

The first bill allows people to sue over potential violations of religious freedom. It now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer for approval.

The second bill allows religious schools to avoid providing unemployment benefits to private school teachers.

The third bill allows churches to avoid paying property taxes on vacant land.

Democratic Sen. Ed Ableser of Tempe told lawmakers that the bills go against Christian doctrine, which encourages believers to put the needs of others first.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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