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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

Missouri could lose millions from tobacco settlement

Monday, 17 February 2014 12:40 Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The state of Missouri faces the loss of nearly $70 million this year in tobacco settlement payments due to a unique pricing advantage enjoyed by some cigarette companies.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri is the only state which signed a landmark settlement agreement more than 15 years ago to not eliminate a loophole allowing small cigarette manufacturers and retailers to avoid making escrow payments. The payments are required of companies that didn't sign the settlement.
 
State lawmakers have refused requests by two Missouri attorney generals over the past 12 years to neutralize the pricing advantage. And a federal arbitration panel found that Gov. Jay Nixon neglected to file lawsuits against the smaller tobacco companies to force them to pay into the escrow fund when he was attorney general.
 
Missouri could also lose tens of millions in tobacco money each year for at least seven years.

In Indonesia, Kerry blasts climate change deniers

Sunday, 16 February 2014 08:10 Published in National News

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is putting climate change deniers in the same category as those who insist the Earth is flat.

Speaking in Indonesia today, Kerry says climate change may be the world's "most fearsome" weapon of mass destruction ther is and that urgent action is needed to combat it.

In a speech to Indonesian students, civic leaders and government officials in Jakarta, Kerry accused climate change deniers of using shoddy science and scientists to delay measures needed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

He also argued that everyone and every country must take responsibility and act immediately.

Kerry argued that the cost of inaction to environments and economies will far outweigh even the significant expense of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that trap solar heat in the atmosphere and contribute to the Earth's rising temperatures.

House Dems try to force votes on wage, immigration

Sunday, 16 February 2014 08:09 Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are determined to cast an election-year spotlight on Republican opposition to raising the minimum wage and overhauling immigration laws.

To try to accomplish that, Democrats are planning to rely on an infrequently used and rarely successful tactic.

It's known as a "discharge petition."

It requires the minority party — Democrats, in this case — to persuade some two dozen Republicans to defy their leadership, join Democrats and force a vote on setting the federal minimum wage at $10.10 an hour.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says Democrats will push the wage issue when Congress returns from break Feb. 24.

Forcing a vote on immigration could occur in a few months.

The odds are daunting for Democrats in what clearly is political maneuvering ahead of this fall's elections.

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