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State Senate ends invocations before sessions

By Mark Niesse

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:59 p.m. HST, Jan 20, 2011

The state Senate is ending daily prayers before lawmaking sessions.

The Senate passed new rules today that delete a sentence requiring an invocation, effectively stopping the practice.

Senators said they made the change because they'd likely lose a lawsuit if they were sued, which would cost taxpayers money.

The Senate considered allowing prayers if they didn't mention a deity, but religious groups argued that clergy can't be restrained from talking about their higher power.

The state House also is considering limiting prayer, but it opened with invocations on both yesterday and today, the first two days of this year's legislative session.

The Senate's last prayer was a Hawaiian-language invocation yesterday.

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