A lawsuit that has kept state family planning money out of the hands of Planned Parenthood has been dismissed, but the issue is far from resolved. Cole County Circuit Judge Byron Kinder complied with a State Supreme Court order to dismiss the lawsuit after the court found it placed State Attorney General Jay Nixon in a conflict-of-interest. Nixon defended the state health director’s contracts with Planned Parenthood, arguing the contracts complied with language written into a budget bill by the state legislature in 1999. Nixon also hired a special assistant attorney general who argued the other side, that the contracts were in violation of the 1999 law and that the legislature had the right to adopt such restrictive language. The court found that placed Nixon on both sides of an issue, a violation of attorney ethics. It allowed him to dismiss the suit. The court, though, left open the possibility of a taxpayer bringing a similar suit. That has happened. St. Charles businessman Daniel Shipley has formally filed his lawsuit. His attorney, John Landwehr of Jefferson City, points out the State Supreme Court has never ruled on the merits of the case. Landwehr says his client seeks to uphold legislative action. Planned Parenthood insists it complies with state law by completely separating its family planning services from its abortion services.
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