Ruling will restore Missouri tobacco settlement money

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled the state can recoup around $50 million in lost tobacco settlement money.

The 4-0 decision was reached Tuesday.

At dispute was money guaranteed to Missouri and 45 other states through a 1998 settlement with major tobacco manufacturers. The settlement is aimed at covering the costs of providing health care to people with tobacco-related illnesses. The state typically gets about $130 million annually.

Missouri lost millions of dollars after an arbitration panel decided the state in 2003 didn’t properly enforce part of the settlement requiring other, smaller, tobacco companies that didn’t sign the 1998 agreement to pay into an escrow account.

The Supreme Court ruling restores some of that money.