State Legislatures Focus on Children, Health Care With Tobacco Settlement Monies
WASHINGTON, March 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- More than 400 bills
aimed at managing and allocating state tobacco settlement funds
have been filed in state legislatures across the country.
According to a recently released National Conference of State
The survey reports that 44 states have passed or are considering
measures that would attempt to prevent or reduce smoking by
children. Legislation in at least 12 states designates
school-based, community-based or after-school programs as
recipients of tobacco settlement funds to implement smoking
prevention programs. Vermont has legislation pending that would
establish a Tobacco Free Vermont Endowment Fund to be used for
smoking cessation and prevention programs.
The majority of enacted and pending legislation has focused on
the area of health care. Proposals in 41 states would allocate
settlement monies for indigent care programs, primary care,
expanding insurance coverage to the working poor, SCHIP programs as
well as numerous other purposes. A Florida law appropriates
$15.6 million to establish a program for high-risk pregnant
women who otherwise may not seek prenatal care.
"The Master Settlement Agreement between the states and the
tobacco companies has created many opportunities for states that
they otherwise would not have had," said NCSL's Executive Director
William Pound. "State legislatures have responded in a
responsible, timely manner to address the need of their respective
The National Conference of State Legislatures is a bipartisan
organization created to serve the legislators and staffs of the
nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories and the
District of Columbia. NCSL provides research, technical assistance
and the opportunity for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most
pressing state issues. NCSL is also an effective and respected
representative for the interests of state governments before
Congress and federal agencies.
Members of the media may obtain a complimentary copy of the
survey by contacting Bill Wyatt at 202-624-8667.