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For week ended March 05, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 03Mar00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

LDS Republicans rebuff anti-smoking plea
Deseret News 29Feb00 D6
By Dennis Romboy: Deseret News staff writer

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- "You know what?" asked Senator Scott Howell, D-Sandy. "Joe Smith had it right." Noting that "someone received some information" on February 27, 1833, Howell made a thinly veiled reference to church doctrine. Howell continued his attempt to persuade Utah Senate Republicans to propose spending more money on anti-cigarette programs, by asking the GOP-controlled body to more than double its $3 million allocation for tobacco prevention. "We're not thinking about the kids of tomorrow who will light up a cigarette today," he said.

The Senate voted along party lines 17-11 to move the measure to the House for further consideration. Senator Steve Poulton's bill proposes a $27 million tobacco settlement share between several programs and a trust fund. In line for funding are: $3 million for tobacco prevention, $3 million for drug court expansion, $4 million for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and $5.5 million for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Under this bill the money would go into prevention should the state free up another 25 percent held in federal court.

Democrats want to spend more now to keep children off cigarettes, while Republicans are looking to save some for future use. "I think it comes down to this: Are we disciplined or aren't we?" said Sen. Poulton, R-Holladay. "This thing is not perfect. But it's the doggonest most perfect thing we can come up with." Sen. Ron Allen, D-Tooele, said the GOP plan "emphasizes investment capital at the expense of human capital."

The Senate Democrats did win one point. In an amendment passed by Sen. Eddie Mayne, D-West Valley City, they agreed to plow half of the interest back into the trust account while making the other half available to spend. About 8,000 young people take up smoking each year, and 1,200 will die from tobacco-related illnesses.


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