About 500 Iowa high schoolers marched on the statehouse yesterday to urge legislators to spend just as much money on anti-smoking programs as was spend last year. The kids rallied with Attorney General Tom Miller on the steps of the capitol, then sat in the House balcony as republicans in the House voted to cut spending on anti-smoking programs by four million dollars — almost 50 percent of the budget. The kids were stunned by the setback. Chris Chemel of Newton called the action “horrible.” He says they’re saying they’d rather have their money than the health of Iowa’s youth.Scott Reif of Marengo had another word to describe the republicans’ vote. “ludicrous.” Andy Miller of Shenandoah was disappointed republicans refused the kids’ request. He says it’s pathetic that big tobacco spends billions of dollars on advertising. Miller says the state is saying we don’t care, go ahead and kill yourselves.Democrat Attorney General Tom Miller and republican Representative Dan Boddicker of Tipton were surrounded by students as the two politicians got in a bit of a shouting match over the issue. Boddicker said bipartisan means “when democrats are in control, we let republicans in the room, when republicans are in control, bipartisan means we do what the democrats want us to do.” Miller said that’s wrong, it means working together.Republicans say they have other spending priorities, like widening highway 20 and ensuring Iowa Public Television makes the transition to H-D-T-V.
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