The Alabama House has passed a bill that makes changes to the state's immigration law. It revised portions that faced court challenges and removed what was considered confusing language.
Religious leaders had objected to one part of the law that could make it a crime to provide lodging or shelter to a known illegal immigrant.
New language state churches or ministries would not be prohibited from providing help to all individuals, regardless of immigration status.
Another alteration was to give judges the option to suspend a business that hires illegal immigrants for up to 60 days instead of the 10 days in the current law.
The bill passed Thursday evening on a 64-34 vote and now goes to the Senate for debate.
The vote mostly broke along party lines with
Republicans voting for it and Democrats voting against.
Lawmakers in the House debated the bill for more than five hours before deciding shortly before 5 p.m. to cut off debate.
A vote was delayed for about an hour so that the 83-page bill could be read at length.
The debate was sometimes emotional and lasted throughout the day.