Morning headlines: Thursday, March 17, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mar 17, 2011
  • The St. Louis Blues are for sale. Team chairman Dave Checketts said Wednesday night that his group, Sports Capital Partners Worldwide, and Towerbrook Capital Partners have placed the NHL franchise and the Scottrade Center on the market. The two groups own roughly 90 percent of the franchise. Checketts, who placed at least a pair of deadlines on the table regarding purchasing majority ownership, cited a difference in terms with TowerBrook on the value of the franchise. Boston-based Game Plan LLC has been brought in to conduct a search for a new owner.
  • An Illinois Senate committee has voted to raise cigarette taxes by $1 a pack and use the money for construction projects around the state. Senators split along partly lines yesterday, with nine Democrats supporting the increase and six Republicans opposing it. The measure now goes to the full Senate. Democrats say the cigarette tax could replace other sources of construction money that are tied up in a legal dispute. They also say it would cut state health costs by discouraging smoking. Republicans argue the increase would disproportionately fall on the poor. The $1 increase would more than double the current cigarette tax. It would be phased in over two years.
  • The Missouri Senate signed off on legislation Wednesday that would move up the state's 2012 presidential primary. Missouri typically holds its presidential primary on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in February. But the legislation would move Missouri's primary to the week after New Hampshire's. The amendment needs another vote in the Senate before heading to the House.