Koster Reaches Deal to Restore $50M From Tobacco Settlement
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says he's reached a deal to restore $50 million in tobacco settlement money in exchange for legislators tightening laws on small tobacco companies.
The dispute is over money guaranteed to Missouri through a 1998 settlement with major tobacco manufacturers aimed at covering the costs of providing health care to people with tobacco-related illnesses.
Missouri lost $50 million after an arbitration panel said the state didn't properly enforce part of the settlement that requires smaller tobacco companies that didn't sign the agreement to pay into an escrow account.
Koster says major tobacco companies will restore the $50 million and pay $11 million more annually starting in 2020. But lawmakers must require other tobacco companies to fully pay into escrow.