This one would raise it to 75 percent of the current national average – in other words, from 17 cents per pack to $1.09-1/2 cents per pack. Missouri’s tax per pack would also rise or fall as the national average changes, and it would require a referendum by Missouri voters to take effect. The bill was filed by State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford (D, St. Louis), who spoke in favor of raising the cigarette tax during budget debates on Thursday.
Legislation that would allow employers to block insurance coverage for birth control, abortions and sterilizations, all for religious reasons, has passed a Missouri Senate committee.
The bill was filed in response to President Obama’s recent mandate that church-run institutions provide coverage for birth control – that mandate has since been amended to require insurers to provide coverage if a religious employer refuses to do so. Bishop John Gaydos, representing Missouri’s Catholic bishops, spoke in favor of the bill.
Debate brewing in Missouri Capitol over birth control
A Senate committee has scheduled a hearing for today on legislation allowing employers to refuse to provide insurance coverage for birth control, abortions or sterilization procedures, if doing so would go against the employer's religious beliefs.
Sponsoring Sen. John Lamping, a St. Louis County Republican, says health insurance is a benefit and that employers should decide how it is structured.