BOSTON (AP) _ A push to eliminate so-called non-compete agreements in Massachusetts is gaining momentum on Beacon Hill.

Gov. Deval Patrick has said the agreements _ designed to discourage workers in high-tech companies from quitting and taking their skills to a competitor _ are stifling competition.

On Tuesday the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development backed a bill that mirrors Patrick’s proposal.

Patrick has said tougher protections for trade secrets are a better solution to prevent workers from sharing information with new employers.

Massachusetts High Tech Council President Chris Anderson has said employers who spend money training and education employees have legitimate concerns if an employee opts to work for a competitor.

Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki said eliminating non-compete agreements and adopting trade secrets protections will help Massachusetts remain a leader in the global innovation economy.