State legislators continue to spar over tobacco-related issues. The Iowa House is insisting the state’s method of taxing “moist snuff” be changed. The Iowa Senate has voted to maintain the current method, which taxes “chew” like Copenhagen and Skoal based on the grade or quality of the moist tobacco. House Democrat Leader David Schrader vows to use the issue in the fall campaign, accusing Republicans who back the tax break of being in the pocket of big tobacco. Schrader says they’ve made their nest and now have to sleep in it. He says he’s been hearing there’s big money in the bill.House Speaker Brent Siegrist (see’-grist), a republican from Council Bluffs, replied. He says noone has ever said anything about tobacco money being tied up in the party or any individual in the party. Siegrist says there’s no 50-thousand dollar pot for G-O-P legislators who support the move.Senator Mike Connolly, a democrat from Dubuque, is trying to get the entire statehouse declared a “smoke free” environment. That rankles Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson, who smokes in his own office and in the special “smoking” room set aside for Senators who smoke. He says the 45 who don’t smoke need to stand up to the five that do and say they get no special perks.Connolly wants to close the Senate smoking room, and completely bar smoking inside the capitol building. He says they’ve “Pussyfooted around on this long enough,” and today is the day they stop.Several years ago, the Governor and the Iowa House banned smoking in the areas of the capitol they control.
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