What happened to Mississippi’s tobacco lawsuit money?

The budget summary from the 2016 legislative session shows the fund will have a zero balance on July 1.

The state will receive about $116 million for its annual settlement payment in the next few months, but that money won’t be invested for the future. Instead, it will prop up the tight state budget for the coming year.

First to sue

In 1994, Mississippi became the first of many states to sue tobacco companies to recover public costs of treating sick smokers. Democratic Attorney General Mike Moore used private attorneys to represent the state, and Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice said the lawsuit was a money grab by trial lawyers who were some of Moore’s most generous campaign donors.