Things are getting a little testy in the state Senate…as the duel intensifies on what to do with money from the national tobacco settlement. Republicans say, “What’s the hurry?” Democrats say, “Why the delay?” Democrats want to earmark the billions for health, and for tobacco and substance abuse programs, with some of it going into a fund for emergencies. Republicans are suggesting everything from property tax relief to aid to religious schools. While all of this talking is going on, the state Supreme Court is considering whether St. Louis city and county, Jackson County and Kansas City, can get their hands on some of that money. Senate Republican Leader Steve Ehlmann tells sponsor Ed Quick, a Democrat, there’s no reason to make a decision until the court has ruled. More than a half-dozen amendments already have been suggested, most from Republicans, with more to come. Quick has stopped debate on his bill so work can be done on the state budget…and in hopes he might be able to reach a compromise with Republicans and move the bill without burning more of the limited time left in this session.
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