COLUMBIA — A Senate committee has whittled down a bill enabling residents to use gold and silver coins as currency.

The measure approved today by the Senate Finance Committee would study the matter. The bill as passed by the House would let people use the precious metals as money as long as businesses agree to take them.

Advocates say the metal coins are more stable than the dollar. Sen. David Thomas says voters want an option in the case of dramatic inflationary pressures. Others say it’s an unreasonable fear.

Rep. Greg Delley has said if the dollar collapses, people will be in trouble no matter what the coins are worth.

Last year, Utah became the first state in the country to legalize gold and silver coins as currency.