House Keeps Religious Practices Bill Alive

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Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi House members want to study a much-disputed religious practices bill, but are keeping it alive for possible further action.

The House passed Senate Bill 2681 by an 80-37 vote Wednesday after it had been amended to call for a study panel of the combined House and Senate Judiciary committees. Another prong that inserts the phrase "In God We Trust" into the state seal passed intact.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson says the idea is to work toward an agreeable bill by the end of the 2014 Mississippi Legislature.

A majority of House members weren't ready to vote for the bill Wednesday.

Gipson says Mississippi needs to ensure the government can't burden religious practices.

Opponents say they fear even a watered-down version of the bill would allow discrimination.