OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma received a $58.4 million payment on Monday from the tobacco industry as part of a 1998 settlement between the states and several large tobacco companies. Under a constitutional amendment approved by Oklahoma voters in 2000, 75% of Monday's payment went directly into Oklahoma's Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund.
"Oklahomans wisely chose to invest the bulk of these monies in a trust fund to ensure a continual source of funding for the fight against tobacco addiction," Attorney General Drew Edmondson said.
The 2000 amendment specifies that only the earnings from the trust fund may be spent on programs to improve the health and well being of Oklahomans, particularly children and senior adults.
State Treasurer Scott Meacham, who chairs the trust fund's board of investors, said more than $19.7 million has been earned for use on public health programs during the past six fiscal years.
Oklahoma filed its lawsuit in August 1996, becoming the 14th state to file a lawsuit against the tobacco companies.
Oklahoma's share of the settlement is estimated to be $2.03 billion over the next 25 years.
6/23/2000 House OKs Funds for Tobacco Lawsuit
7/27/2000 Edmondson Says Class-Action Lawsuits Could Affect Settlement
8/16/2001 Tobacco Trust Fund Allocates Money To Investment Panel
1/15/2002 Oklahoma Ranks 41st In Using Tobacco Settlement Money For Prevention Programs
12/31/2002 Oklahoma Lawsuit Hits 10 Tobacco Companies
4/16/2003 Oklahoma Receives Tobacco Money Payment
7/1/2003 Tobacco Settlement Money
4/19/2005 Oklahoma Receives $2.29-Million In Tobacco Settlement Money
4/19/2006 Oklahoma Receives $3.5 Million Tobacco Payment
5/26/2006 Attorney General Drew Edmondson Sues Manufacturers Over Tobacco Settlement
12/22/2006 State Gets More Than $500,000 To Settle Tobacco Dispute