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   Missouri is losing millions of dollars from the 1998 tobacco settlement because of a legislative loophole that allows smaller tobacco companies to keep a competitive edge in the state.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri is the only one of the 46 states involved in the settlement that hasn't acted to stop smaller tobacco companies from recouping the money they pay into a settlement escrow fund.  
   Big tobacco companies say that gives the smaller firms a six-dollar per carton pricing advantage. Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer says it cost Missouri almost $70 million in settlement funds this year and could cost the state as much as $2 billion over the next decade.   For the fourth year in a row, the Columbia Republican has introduced legislation to close the loophole.  
   The state House is considering a similar bill.  Right now, both bills are in committee.
 
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to a proposed constitutional amendment bolstering certain gun rights after a Democratic state senator blocked a vote for several hours.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, of University City, stood Tuesday and read news reports about gun violence in her urban district. She says the Legislature should focus on legislation curbing violence in urban areas.

The amendment would declare gun rights "unalienable" and compel elected officials in Missouri to defend against any infringement on the right to bear arms. It would also allow people to use firearms in defense of their families.

The sponsor, Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia, says his amendment responds to proposed gun restrictions in the federal government.

It needs one more vote before moving to the House, and would later need approval by Missouri voters.
Published in Local News

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