Fri March 10, 2006
By Steve Bell
Kansas City, MO – U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple has ordered a group that opposes most embryonic stem cell research to stop using a web site logo similar to that of the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures. The Missouri group, which is campaigning for a ballot initiative that would protect research allowed under federal law, filed suit against the Elliot Institute earlier this week. The Elliot Institute is promoting an alternative ballot measure that would prohibit most forms of embryonic stem cell research. The pro-research group said in its suit that competing web site uses some of the same photos and has a similar look and seemed to be designed to confuse the public. The Institute said it would comply with the ruling and await a further court hearing to plead its case.
After hearing some public testimony, the board of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA) endorsed a plan to sell billions of dollars worth of student loans again today. But some changes to Governor Blunt's original plan may be brewing. At least one board member said the plan funnels too much money to capital improvement projects and not enough to student aid.
Kansas Senate President Steve Morris says he is committed to passing a school funding plan "either now or in special session." Morris also said the fate of the plan should not hinge on whether legislators vote to expand gambling. Legislators are working under a state Supreme Court mandate to spend more money on schools.
A Kansas Senate committee today heard comments on the gambling bill that would fund school increases. Supporters emphasized the revenue-producing aspect of the proposal and local economic and tourism benefits. Opponents argued that the bill pays casino and track operators too much and that it would create problem gamblers.
Western Missouri US Attorney Todd Graves will return to private law practice March 24th. Graves said he is proud of his record in office and regrets that he won't be around to prosecute Lisa Montgomery in the Bobbie Jo Stinnett case. He says he will again be more active in politics, but didn't announce specific plans to run for office.