House passes blueprint for spending tobacco money
The Missouri House on Tuesday approved a blueprint that would parse out the state's tobacco money among a prescription drug benefit, research, anti-tobacco programs and youth development.
The measure, which now goes to the Senate, would let voters decide whether to approve the plan that would take effect July 1, 2002, and would guide the spending of the expected $4.5 billion over 25 years from the tobacco settlement.
The plan proposes allocating 60 percent of annual tobacco revenues to health care and prescription drug coverage; 20 percent to life sciences and medical research; 10 percent to anti-tobacco efforts; and 10 percent to early childhood and youth development programs.
The measure would bar the use of the life sciences research money for human cloning, abortion services or research involving organs or tissues taken from dead children. The measure now goes to the Senate.
The measure's passage comes one week after Attorney General Jay Nixon filed papers with the St. Louis City Circuit Court signifying that all legal challenges to the settlement have been resolved.
The filing is an important step toward the state actually receiving the nearly $339 million in tobacco revenues that has been sitting in a New York bank account.