Tobacco tax, health exchange top Mo. ballot issues

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri voters have a chance to sharply increase the state's tobacco tax, change the way judges are picked and prevent state officials from setting up a health exchange without the public's support.

Those were among the top ballot issues voters will decide Tuesday. Another ballot issues asks voters to decide whether the city of St. Louis should control its police department by doing away with a five-person board created in 1861.

Tobacco tax hikes were rejected in 2002 and 2006, but this year's initiative earmarks proceeds from the increase for education and smoking cessation programs.

The health exchange measure bans action without a vote of the public or Legislature, despite federal law that requires states to create such exchanges by 2014 or have the federal government create one for them.

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