A bogged down tobacco bill is close to making its way through the House. No shutting off debate this time as the House considers the Senate proposal to create a fund to capture the billions coming from the national tobacco settlement. Amendments came from everywhere, beginning with one diverting money to tobacco farmers hurt by the settlement, offered by St. Joseph Representative Maurice Lawson who wasn’t happy when the sponsor tried to kill his amendment with a substitute. Sponsor Tim Van Zandt of Kansas City feared its impact, saying that accepting his amendment had the potential of opening the bill up to all sorts of amendments. Potential became reality. Amendments divert money to developmental disabilities programs, a cancer treatment trust fund, even St. Louis roads and bridges. No final vote has been taken. The Majority Floor Leader explains that when adjournment came at 8pm there weren’t 82 Democrats present, the number needed for passage.
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