Attorney General Chris Koster says a new court ruling should allow Missouri to avoid most of a $70 million penalty for its lackluster enforcement of a legal settlement with tobacco companies.
St. Louis Circuit Judge Jimmie Edwards ruled Friday that an arbitration panel wrongly calculated the amount of settlement payments Missouri should lose for failing to diligently enforce the settlement terms in 2003.
A previous decision by arbitration panel had reduced Missouri's $130 million payment this year by about $70 million.
A Missouri Senate panel has endorsed legislation that seeks to recoup money from a settlement with tobacco companies.
Under the settlement, Missouri expected to get $130 million this year. But it will likely get less than half because of an arbitrator's ruling that state officials failed to diligently enforce the settlement a decade ago.
Some of Missouri’s strongest anti-tobacco advocates just happen to be under 18 years old. More than one hundred students from across the state arrived in Jefferson City Thursday for an anti-tobacco advocacy and education event at the capitol organized by the Tobacco Free Missouri Youth Advocacy Board. The students delivered over two thousand signatures of support along with pinwheels to represent their desire for clean air to House of Representatives Majority Leader John Diehl.
Missouri has one of the highest smoking rates in the nation -- at 21 percent, it's double the rate in states like Utah and California. But some segments of the population smoke even more. In this week's Health & Wealth update, I talk with MU researchers who have found that the smoking rate among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Missourians is much higher than in the population at large.