Negotiations now get underway in earnest as members of the House and Senate sit down to hammer out differences in a Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund bill.The billions coming the state’s way from the national tobacco settlement would be funneled into a separate fund under the bill. The House tacked on a bunch of amendments. The Senate wants them off.House sponsor Tim Van Zandt of Kansas City acknowledges during House debate that creation of the Trust Fund doesn’t mean money pours right in. He says litigation before the State Supreme Court must be resolved first. That worries Representative Brent Evans of Manchester, who points out five of the seven State Supreme Court judges have removed themselves from the case. Judges Price, Limbaugh, Covington, Holstein and Benton won’t hear the case, leaving only White and Wolff. Five other judges will be picked to decide if four parties can pursue claims they have a right to part of the tobacco money.
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