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Morning headlines: Friday, February 10, 2012

Gordon Lamb was the interim president of the University of Missouri System in 2007 and 2008.
(via flickr/University of Missouri System)
Gordon Lamb was the interim president of the University of Missouri System in 2007 and 2008.

Former University of Missouri interim president dies

The interim president of the University of Missouri system in 2007 and 2008 died Monday. Gordon Lamb was 77.  

Lamb also served as the president of Northeast Illinois University in Chicago and the interim chancellor of University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

Current interim president Steve Owens released a statement Thursday night, announcing Lamb's death.

Senate Appropriations Chairman supports increase in Missouri's cigarette tax

Columbia Republican Senator Kurt Schaefer says he supports a higher cigarette tax in Mo. to get more people to stop smoking. The Senate Appropriations Chairman says reducing the number of smokers would help the state government save money by cutting some costs through the Medicaid health care program.

Schaefer also says a higher tax would generate some revenue. The current Mo. cigarette tax has remained at 17 cents per pack over the past decade, while most states have increased taxes on tobacco.  The national average tax is now $1.46 per pack.

Senator McCaskill to introduce bill giving president line-item veto power

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri plans to present a companion bill Friday to legislation passed by the House of Representatives that would give the president line-item veto power. 

The legislation is identical to the bill which cleared the House on Wednesday with a 254-173 vote. 

The bill would give the president the authority to select specific items to eliminate in spending bills. 

McCaskill, a long time supporter of the line-item veto, is uncertain of the bill's prospects in the Senate but says it is important legislation.