JEFFERSON CITY - Three Missouri Republican senators are proposing that Missouri voters be given the power to decide what happens with the tobacco settlement funds.
Sen. Dave Klarich, R-St. Louis County, along with Sen Peter Kinder, Cape Girardeau, and Sen. Francis Flotron, St. Louis County, filed a proposed constitutional amendment Tuesday that would put the question on the statewide ballot.
The proposal was filed on the opening day for lawmakers to file bills for the 1999 legislative session that begins January 6.
The two part resolution would give Missouri voters two choices on how the money should be spent:
* Have the money refunded to the people through the Hancock amendment, or,
* Let the legislature spend the money.
"I think it is going to get overwhelming support," Kalrich said. "I can't see how anyone can argue that the people should not be allowed to decide on the largest settlement in the states history."
The settlement would give the state $6 billion starting in the year 2000 over 25 years.
The settlement is also high on the list of priorities for Gov. Mel Carnahan's legislative package, said press spokesman Chris Sifford.
"We haven't put together out legislative package yet, but I expect that the tobacco settlement would be one of the things especially with money that is available." Sifford said.
"We know the amount and we have general idea about what we want to do -- teen smoking, education, health issues.