Report: Child advocacy group sues Kan. AG over tobacco settlement funds information

By Jessica M. Karmasek | May 14, 2013

TOPEKA, Kan. (Legal Newsline) -- A children's advocacy group is suing Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, accusing the state's top lawyer of not releasing information about funds from revisions to a 1998 tobacco settlement.

Kansas Action for Children filed their petition in Shawnee County District Court Friday, according to The Associated Press.

The group wants the attorney general to release a report on revisions to the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

Under the MSA, 46 states, including Kansas, settled their Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco industry for recovery of their tobacco-related health care costs, and exempted the companies from private tort liability regarding harm caused by tobacco use.

In return, the companies agreed to stop certain marketing practices and to make payments to the states to compensate them for some of the medical costs of caring for those with smoking-related illnesses.

Last month, Gov. Sam Brownback predicted that revisions to the MSA would boost the state's tobacco settlement funds.

Soon after, Schmidt announced that the state received nearly $68 million in tobacco settlement funds for the current fiscal year -- almost $13 million more than expected.

Kansas Action for Children wants to see those funds dedicated to children's programs.

A spokesman for Schmidt's office told the AP that it will share the report when it can be "lawfully released."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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