PARIS — A leading lawmaker in President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party says he hopes a bill forbidding Islamic veils is passed in September.

Jean-Francois Cope says parliament will begin debating a bill by early July and "ideally" it would be definitively adopted mid-September.

That is the clearest timeline so far for the controversial legislation that would ban burqa-like garments everywhere, including in the streets.

The rival Socialists said Wednesday that they'll vote against the bill, which wouldn't stop it from passing.

The issue has been debated for nearly a year but made headlines last week after a veiled woman contested a traffic citation for driving with garments that hindered vision. Her husband is accused of polygamy.