Lawsuit Claims Oklahoma’s Cigarette Fee Is Unconstitutional

Thursday, June 8th 2017, 2:43 pm
By: News On 6

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Phillip Morris USA have filed a lawsuit with the Oklahoma Supreme Court, arguing a new cigarette fee approved by the Oklahoma Legislature is unconstitutional.

Governor Mary Fallin signed the bill on June 1st.  

6/1/2017 Related Story: Cigarette Tax Increase Expected To Make Big Impact On Smokers, State

The bill calls for a $1.50 hike in fees on a pack of cigarettes.

The companies say the bill violates provisions of the state Constitution that the voters of Oklahoma approved 25 years ago. 

In a news release, they say the bill's "overwhelming aim is to raise revenue, and in fact, it is projected to collect well over $200 million in taxes in just the next fiscal year, making it the Legislature’s largest revenue bill of 2017." 

They go on to say the bill, "passed in the last five days of the session, did not originate in the state House, did not receive a three-quarters majority in either the House or Senate as required, and has not been sent to the voters for approval."  

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Phillip Morris are asking the state's highest court to declare the fee void and stop officials from enforcing it.

Copy of the Supreme Court filing