A Mississippi House panel has advanced a bill that says state and local government cannot put a substantial burden on religious practices.
Supporters say the bill would reinforce religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but opponents worry it could lead to anti-gay discrimination.
Senate Bill 2681 is called the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
It passed the House Judiciary B Committee Tuesday and goes the full House for debate in the next few days.
In its original form, the bill was similar to a measure that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed last week.
The Mississippi bill would add the motto "In God We Trust" to the state seal.