Missouri Attorney General: Church lawsuit should proceed

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri Attorney General’s Office and a Columbia church say that a U.S. Supreme Court case over who qualifies for state grant money should move forward.

Lawyers said Tuesday in letters to the high court that the case isn’t moot, even after the governor last week reversed a rule preventing religious organizations from receiving state grant money.

Oral arguments for the case are scheduled to start Wednesday.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say the case should be over because the rule change effectively removed the controversy.

The church sued the Department of Natural Resources over a rule that stopped religious organizations from receiving state money for recycled tires for playground surfaces. The department cited a state constitutional amendment stating that religious organizations can’t receive public dollars.