AUGUSTA — The Maine House has given initial approval to a bill to create a state Legislature with a single chamber.

The bill, LD 804, approved by a 78-66 vote, proposes to amend the state Constitution to combine the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The unicameral legislature would have 151 members, who would be referred to as senators. If approved by voters, the new body would be seated in 2016.

The sponsor, Democratic Rep. Linda Valentino of Saco, told lawmakers that with modern communications, it’s possible for lawmakers to represent larger areas efficiently. Her bill won an 8-5 vote of support by the State and Local Government Committee.

An opponent, Republican Rep. Kenneth Fredette of Newport, said the bill would require more staff at a greater expense.

The bill faces further votes.