Oregon voters to decide how to spend tobacco money
The Oregon legislature has approved placing a question on the November 2000 ballot that would ask voters whether to put the state's share of the national tobacco settlement into a trust fund for health care, a Republican official said Thursday.
The Republican-controlled House had rejected the measure earlier in the week after five Republicans joined Democrats to oppose the bill, saying they wanted more money added to the $4.811 billion school budget approved last week.
But Wednesday, the bill passed on party lines after two of the Republicans reversed their votes, clearing away one of the last hurdles in what is now the third-longest legislative session in Oregon's history.
The Senate approved the plan later on Wednesday.
Republicans want to use the $2.4 billion Oregon is owed under the $206 billion tobacco settlement for health-related purposes, while Democrats had sought to use the money to bolster education spending.
Democratic lawmakers had proposed spending as much as $4.95 billion on schools, well above the Republican school budget that passed last week.