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Missouri Government News for Week of Mar. 22, 1999

The Missouri Senate rejects letting voters decide what to do with the tobacco settlement money.

The Missouri Senate rejected a proposal to let Missouri voters decide how to handle the tobacco settlement money.

The amendment to a bill establishing a settlement fund would have put on the statewide ballot the question of whether government got to keep the money or whether it was covered by the Hancock Revenue Lid.

Revenue collections are so high in the state now that any extra money counted under that lid would be refunded to the taxpayers.

The vote was largely along party lines -- not one Democrat supported the amendment and only a couple of Republicans voted against it.

See the Senate roll-call vote.

The attorney general discussed campaign contributions with a party in a state lawsuit, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Wednesday that Attorney General Jay Nixon had discussed campaign contribuitons with an official connected with Blue Cross at the same time Nixon was pursuing a lawsuit against Blue Cross.

The meeting occured three years ago when Nixon was seeking funds for his unsuccessful U.S. Senate race.

Disclosure last week of the meeting caused the judge in the case to say it raised "ethical issues," according to the Post-Dispatch.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys are using office facilities in the campaign against Missouri's concealed weapons issue.

Missouri's two U.S. attorneys have used Justice Department resources to campaign against the Proposition B on the April ballot.

They sent out a letter under Justice Department stationary to law enforcement officials throughout the state urging opposition to the proposal and cited an 800 U.S. Attorney's phone line to call for more information or material.

A Justice Department spokesperson said the effort had been approved in Washington.

See our newspaper story for details.

Also see our followup storyn continued refusal by the Justice Department to provide details about their campaign efforts.

The House votes to eliminate the governor's security.

In a spat over the governor's opposition to the concealed weapons ballot issue, the House voted to eliminate the governor's security force, leaving only enough money for the governor to pay for a concealed weapons permit.

Although the budget amendment was offered by the House Democratic Leader (who sponsored the concealed weapons issue), only seven other Democrats voted for the amendment in what was a near party-line vote.

A short time later, the House reconsidered the issue and restored the security force appropriations.

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