The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a $1.5 million punitive damages judgment for a Kansas City area family in a long-running lawsuit against a tobacco company.
The court's ruling Tuesday affirmed the 2009 judgment against Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. for the family of Barbara Smith. The Independence woman was a longtime smoker and died of a heart attack in 2000.
The Missouri Supreme Court's decision to move ahead with two executions this year is being questioned by some death penalty observers and opponents.
The state High Court on Wednesday set execution dates for condemned killers Allen Nicklasson and Joseph Franklin. Missouri plans to become the first-ever state to use the anesthetic propofol for lethal injection. Propofol was used in the death of pop star Michael Jackson.
The Missouri Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a law that raised the state's licensing fees on animal shelters.
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit filed by the Humane Society of the United States and two other animal shelters was moot. The court noted the suit challenged the procedure by which a 2010 licensing law was passed, but that lawmakers had changed the law again in 2011.
Two troubled St. Louis-area school districts could pay a combined $23 million to cover tuition and transportation costs for students opting to attend accredited districts.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that nearly 1,700 students in the Normandy and Riverview Gardens districts have applied to transfer. That follows a recent Missouri Supreme Court ruling requiring unaccredited districts to pick up those costs for students who want to attend better schools.
The home districts must cover the tuition costs, and must pay for transportation to at least one school district.
Judge Mary Russell is set to become Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court next week.
The Hannibal native has sat on the state's highest court since 2004, and previously served on the Appeals court for Missouri's Eastern District. Russell lists the expansion of specialty courts as one of her top priorities for her two-year term.
Missouri lawmakers are trying again to re-impose local taxes on vehicles bought from out-of-state dealers or through person-to-person sales.
The state Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that local sales taxes cannot be charged on vehicles purchased outside Missouri or in private transactions. Instead, the high court said a local "use tax" could be charged if approved by local voters.
Lawmakers have passed two measures during the past two years that have sought to reverse the court ruling. Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed both, including the most recent one last month.
Missouri lawmakers have sent legislation to Gov. Jay Nixon that would levy local sales taxes on vehicles purchased in other states with voters’ approval. The Governor vetoed a similar bill last year because it did not give local voters a say in whether they wanted such a tax.
Voters in more than a dozen Missouri counties have approved local taxes that can be applied to out-of-state purchases.
Figures from the Missouri Association of Counties show use taxes passed in 13 of 18 counties where it appeared on Tuesday's ballots. In November, use tax proposals were defeated in six of eight counties.
Results from Tuesday for cities seeking use taxes were mixed.
The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a decision striking down a 2011 law that created an incentive fund for science and technology-based businesses.
In a unanimous ruling Tuesday, the court said the law was unconstitutional because the Legislature linked it to an unrelated bill about tax credits. That separate bill ultimately did not pass during a 2011 special session.