The Arizona House of Representatives has approved a state holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., leaving legislators to focus their efforts on the state Senate.

The bill, which would designate the third Monday of each January as "Martin Luther King Civil Rights Day," passed the House in a 35-24 vote Thursday.Democrat Carolyn Walker, the chief Senate sponsor, said there may be as many as 17 votes for the bill, which needs 16 to pass.

Democratic Gov. Rose Mofford, who supports the King holiday, issued a statement congratulating the House.

"I now appeal to the Senate for similar, non-divisive passage of the King legislation so that I may sign it and together we can move Arizona forward," she said.