CONGRESS READY TO BEGIN WORK ON TOBACCO AGREEMENT BILL

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Nearly five months after state attorneys general reached an agreement with tobacco marketers, Congress this week is expected finally to get legislation introduced to implement the agreement. But shortly after the bill is introduced, Congress will adjourn until next year.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the Judiciary Committee chairman, last week said the legislation would offer some major changes from the agreement reached June 20. Among them is that tobacco companies would be licensed by the government, and the allocation of money the marketers pay would be changed.

"Any bill introduced by the chairman of the Judiciary Committee would be a significant bill," said John Fithian, a lawyer for the Freedom to Advertise Coalition, a group of major advertising and media associations.

Sen. Hatch declined to say whether his bill would follow the pact's recommendation of avoiding First Amendment issues by letting tobacco marketers agree to ad restrictions in state consent decrees without putting the curbs into law.

There also was no immediate word on whether the proposal would give the Food & Drug Administration or, as some Republicans have suggested, the Federal Trade Commission, oversight of tobacco advertising.

The antitrust exemption given tobacco companies under the pact came in for close

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