Appeals court upholds Missouri’s use of tobacco settlement money

A Missouri appellate court upheld a ruling exempting the state from a 2003 act directing it to contribute 25 percent of the money from the 1998 tobacco settlement to life sciences starting in 2007.

In 2003, the General Assembly created the Life Sciences Research Trust Fund. The act creating the fund directs the state treasurer to contribute 25 percent of settlement earnings starting in 2007 into the fund “to perform research to better serve the health and welfare of the residents of the State of Missouri.”

The plaintiffs in the case contend that the state has underpaid the fund by almost $300 million and hasn’t used the fund appropriately by spending money to finance animal and plant research.

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, upheld the Cole County Circuit Court, which found that the state is directed — not mandated — to contribute 25 percent of the settlement into the Life Sciences Research Trust Fund. The appeals court upheld the ruling that the state is exempted from full compliance with the statute.


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