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Miss. religious-practices bill goes to negotiation

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By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi lawmakers could try to write a final version of a religious-practices bill that has sparked concerns about anti-gay discrimination.

The Senate on Thursday voted to send Senate Bill 2681 into talks with the House.

Negotiators face a Monday deadline to file a final version of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act (http://bit.ly/1hheTXI ). If they don't meet that deadline, the bill will die.

The original version of the bill said government cannot put a substantial burden on religious practice without a compelling reason. The House diluted the religious-practices portion but kept a provision that would add "In God We Trust" to the state seal.

The state's Southern Baptist lobbying group supports the original version of bill. The American Civil Liberties Union says such a law could lead to anti-gay discrimination.

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