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News Summary

Bill to close tobacco settlement loophole gets through committee

Publication Date: 1/27/2005
  • Author:Doug Thompson
  • Publication:Arkansas News Bureau
A loophole that could cost the state all of its roughly $50 million-a-year share of a federal tobacco settlement would be closed under a bill that cleared a Senate committee Wednesday.

Senate Bill 118 by Sen. Bob Johnson, D-Bigelow, was filed on behalf of Attorney General Mike Beebe, who addressed the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee.

Major tobacco companies are looking for ways to reduce or eliminate their settlement payments, Beebe told the committee. The big companies want to stop paying a portion to states not rigorously protecting them from competition from smaller tobacco companies, he said. That's why he asked Johnson to introduce SB 118, Beebe said.