BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho House panel has introduced a proposal that would allow students to use public funding toward religious school tuitions.

Republican Rep. Ron Nate of Rexburg says the measure, known as the so-called Blaine Amendment, would amend a section of the Idaho Constitution that currently forbids the direct public funding of religious institutions.

Nate told the House Education Committee on Tuesday that students are already using public scholarship funds to pay for tuition at religious schools and this measure would protect the state from potential lawsuits.

Democratic Rep. Ilana Rubel of Boise called the bill ill-advised, but says she voted for the measure because all bills should have a hearing. The measure passed its first hurdle unanimously. However, constitutional amendments must pass with a two-thirds majority in both bodies and then win a two-thirds majority in a statewide vote.