OLYMPIA, Wash. - Washington state will receive nearly $15 million in disputed tobacco settlement money after an arbitration decision said that tobacco companies were not entitled to pay the state less under a landmark multi-state 1998 settlement agreement.
The state Attorney General's Office announced the decision Wednesday, and said the state will receive $14.8 million in disputed tobacco settlement funds that were withheld from 2003.
In all, 45 tobacco companies are involved in the settlement that former Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire, who was the state's attorney general at the time, helped negotiate on behalf of 46 states. Those states settled their suit against the industry for $206 billion, payable over 25 years. Four states settled separately for a total of $40 billion. The states recovered costs for treating sick smokers.
Washington state has received more than $2 billion in payments since the settlement.
The Oregon Department of Justice says a panel of arbitrators has also ordered tobacco companies to pay Oregon $9 million they withheld from a 2003 payment under the multi-state settlement over tobacco-related diseases.