State set to receive first payment from tobacco settlement
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- The state is set to receive an initial payment of more than $130 million from tobacco companies in a national settlement, Attorney General Bill Pryor said.
Alabama has achieved "state specific finality", meaning no further appeals can be made in the case, and the way is clear for funds from the settlement to flow into state coffers.
Alabama joined with 45 other states in a November 1998 settlement in which the major tobacco companies agreed to pay a total of $206 billion over 25 years and to abide by marketing restrictions.
The state's participating in the settlement was approved by Montgomery County Circuit Judge Charles Price in March of last year. Three motions to intervene in the settlement were denied, and appeals to the Alabama Supreme Court were rejected in February of this year.
On Wednesday, Pryor and attorneys representing tobacco companies notified an independent auditor in charge of the settlement that state specific finality had occurred.
"Our first payment may come within the next two to three weeks, and we should receive about $3 billion over the next 25 years," Pryor said in a written statement.