The state Senate has approved a bill that would allow prayers before public meetings.

The legislation says public bodies can adopt policies to let members take turns giving an invocation, elect a chaplain or create a pool of speakers from faith groups to offer the prayer.

The bill also calls for the state attorney general to defend public bodies if they face constitutional challenges.

The town of Great Falls lost a lawsuit filed in 2001 claiming it violated the separation between church and state when it used the name Jesus Christ in prayers. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the town's appeal in 2005.

The public prayer bill now heads to the House.