Missouri Senate panel endorses tobacco settlement fix
A Missouri Senate panel has endorsed legislation that seeks to recoup money from a settlement with tobacco companies.
Under the settlement, Missouri expected to get $130 million this year. But it will likely get less than half because of an arbitrator's ruling that state officials failed to diligently enforce the settlement a decade ago.
Supporters of the bill endorsed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday with a 7-3 vote say it would help Missouri negotiate a smaller loss of settlement funding. Opponents argued the measure isn't necessary and would hurt smaller tobacco manufacturers.
The bill would essentially force a price increase on some cheaper cigarettes that compete with the brands made by big tobacco companies. It is sponsored by committee chairman Kurt Schaefer, of Columbia.