After weeks of squabbling, Republican legislators and democrat Governor Tom Vilsack are near agreement on how to spend the 55-million dollars Iowa gets next year from tobacco companies. The biggest point of contention is how much money to hold in reserve to make the plan “cash flow.” House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says the two sides are “fairly close” to a final pact.Iowa will be unique among the states getting money from cigarette-makers because all of Iowa’s tobacco settlement money will be spent on health-related priorities. However, Republican legislators do not intend to target adults with the plan’s anti-smoking initiative. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says kids can be swayed by ad campaigns and peer groups.Yesterday, Iowa Republicans brought in the leaders of Florida’s 39-million dollar anti-smoking campaign aimed exclusively at kids and teenagers. Max Steiner of Florida’s Office of Tobacco Control says it’s a success story in his state.Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says Florida’s program, which uses dramatic television and radio ads, is the model for Iowa.On a related issue, The Iowa Senate has voted to get tougher on kids who smoke. The Senate approved a bill which would order community service and tobacco eduation classes for teens caught smoking or trying to buy smokes. On a third offense, teens would lose their drivers license for a month. Senator Nancy Boettger, a republican from Harlan, urged Senators to approve the bill. The bill now goes to the House.
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