The state House on Monday approved a bill that would put time limits of incorporation petitions but would not apply to the St. George effort.

The proposal, House Bill 768, won approval 91-1 and now goes to the state Senate.

State Rep. Ed Price, D-Gonzales, said the change is needed so that petition backers do not have unlimited time to collect enough valid names to get the issue on a ballot.

Under an amendment added to the legislation, petitioners would have 18 months to collect names if 5,000 or more residents lived in the area to be incorporated.

They would have 12 months if the area included less than 5,000 residents.

The new time limits would not apply in cases where petition backers could show they have already collected at least 1,000 names on an incorporation petition when the measure became law.

St. George backers have said they have gatheredf at least half of the 18,000 valid signatures needed to put that proposal on the ballot.