- Associated Press - Thursday, March 24, 2016

ATLANTA (AP) - The Latest on the Georgia religious exemptions bill (all times local):

10:45 p.m.

A group of Georgia lawmakers have withdrawn a proposal creating high stakes for businesses now mobilizing against a bill intended to protect same-sex marriage opponents.

Opponents fear that bill will excuse discrimination, especially against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.

The new proposal emerged late Thursday on the final day of the legislative session. It would have allowed employees or consumers to file suit against a company if they feel it has violated a nondiscrimination employment policy or a less formal “pledge.”

Several hours later, the Republicans behind the proposal withdrew it. The group was assigned to hash out differences between House and Senate versions of an unrelated bill on labor practices.

Sen. Josh McKoon, a Columbus Republican, said the revisions would guarantee companies keep nondiscrimination promises.

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8:10 p.m.

Six members of the Georgia legislature want to create high stakes for businesses mobilizing against a bill that supporters say protects religious belief.

Opponents fear that bill will excuse discrimination, especially against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.

The new proposal emerged late Thursday on the final day of the legislative session. It would allow employees or consumers file suit against a company if they feel it has violated a nondiscrimination employment policy or a less formal “pledge.”

When the House and Senate can’t agree on a final bill, 3 members of each chamber are assigned to hash out their differences.

Sen. Josh McKoon, a Columbus Republican, is one of the members assigned to negotiate an unrelated bill on labor practices. He says the revisions guarantee companies keep their promises.

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