The state Senate has approved a proposal designed to lure large conventions to Missouri.
Senators voted 27-4 Monday to create a grant that would cover up to half the operating expenses for conventions drawing at least half their attendees from out of state.
Republican Sen. David Sater said without incentives, Missouri is competing against other states on an uneven playing field.
Republican Sen. Ed Emery opposed the bill, saying any positive impact would be nearly impossible to measure.
Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp said if lawmakers want to attract conventions, a better way would be to stifle a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow people to decline wedding-related services for same-sex couples. Similar proposals have led to a backlash in other states.
The House passed a version of the conventions bill last month.