JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Legislature has passed a grant program aimed at attracting conventions to Missouri.

The House voted 111-43 Tuesday to create a $3 million-a-year fund to help cover the costs of large conventions. The grants cover up to half of a convention's expenses or $1 million, whichever is less.

Conventions would have to draw at least half their attendees from out of state, and the anticipated sales tax revenue from the event would have to surpass the amount of the grant.

Bill sponsor Caleb Rowden said other states' financial incentives make them more attractive for conventions than Missouri. The Columbia Republican said this legislation would help level the playing field.

The Senate passed the bill on 27-4 vote in April, and it now goes to the governor.

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