Missouri attorney general urges changes to tobacco escrow law

Thursday, February 2, 2012 | 8:16 a.m. CST; updated 9:58 a.m. CST, Thursday, February 2, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is renewing a call for lawmakers to change a state law related to a 1998 settlement with big tobacco companies.

Missouri has received $1.8 billion from tobacco settlement payments since 2001. But Koster said the state's payments could be at risk because Missouri is the only one of the 46 states that joined the settlement to have left open what he calls a "loophole."

At issue are state laws that require companies not participating in the settlement to pay money into escrow funds based on the amount of cigarettes they sell.

The escrow accounts are intended to cover any future lawsuits. But Koster says Missouri's law contains a loophole that allows much of the escrow money to be refunded to the tobacco companies.


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