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Oklahoma receives $78 million payment from tobacco companies

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma has received a $78 million payment  from the tobacco industry as part of a 1999 settlement of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.

State Treasurer Ken Miller said Friday that 75 percent of the payment, or $58.5 million, went to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund for investment.

The rest is split between the Legislature for health care-related appropriations and the attorney general, who enforces the settlement.

The fund was created in 2000 when voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing only earnings from the fund to be spent to improve the health of Oklahomans, particularly children and senior adults.

Miller says the fund totals $1.1 billion.

Oklahoma was among many states that sued tobacco companies but is the only state with a constitutionally protected fund for investment of settlement payments.