Patrick wants Texas lawmakers to focus on religious liberty

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants the Texas Legislature to better protect religious liberty by examining whether local anti-discrimination ordinances violate state and federal law.

A tea party favorite, Patrick oversees the state Senate. On Thursday, he unveiled issues he'd like emphasized before the next legislative session begins in January 2017.

Patrick wants senators to find ways to ensure the government doesn't "force individuals, organizations or businesses to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs."

Similar religious protection measures caused national outcry when they were approved in some other states, sparking fears they could promote discrimination.

Such proposals stalled in Texas last session, despite GOP-control of the Legislature.

Patrick hails from Houston, where a local anti-discrimination ordinance is up for voter approval next month. Opponents especially object to its sexual orientation protections.