Miss. lawmakers feel pressure over religion bill

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Lawmakers in conservative Mississippi find themselves in a tug-of-war over a religious-practices bill that some say is uncomfortably similar to one recently vetoed by Arizona’s Republican governor.

A lobbying group for the state’s Baptist convention is urging lawmakers to pass the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Others say Mississippi, with its ugly history of racial oppression, should avoid any law that could lead to discrimination against gays and other groups.

A version of the bill passed the Senate and awaits House debate by next week. A House committee made some changes intended to assuage fears about discrimination by removing portions of the bill that were similar to the vetoed Arizona bill.

But critics say the Mississippi bill is vaguely worded and needs to be killed.

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