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Florida's landmark controversial tobacco settlement resolved

Florida's landmark tobacco settlement is resolved
Florida's landmark tobacco settlement is resolved
Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-23 15:01:44-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - A controversy over Florida's landmark tobacco settlement and how the money should be spent has been snuffed out.

Florida's Constitution Revision Commission will no longer consider a proposed constitutional amendment that would have eliminated a requirement that the state set aside 30 percent of overall tobacco-education and prevention funding for a marketing campaign.

Commission member Jeanette Nunez says she sponsored the proposal because she doesn't think it's appropriate that the Constitution include required spending amounts for any program, including the anti-tobacco campaign.

However, she will no longer push for the amendment, after the commission did not approve the proposal while meeting this week in Tallahassee.

Anti-smoking groups that have lobbied fiercely against the idea, are not letting their guard down yet, until the Commission fully finishes its work.

Matt Jordan is with the American Cancer Society.

"If this proposal were to pass, the only winners would be 'big tobacco'. We really want to see our kids never start smoking," said Jordan. "We're doing really good, and we have a very low youth rate right now. If we can keep it that way, we will continue to see large health benefits here in the state of Florida."

The Constitution Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years, has unique authority to place proposed constitutional amendments directly on the ballot.

Voters put the tobacco-spending mandate in the Constitution in 2006, after the Legislature drastically scaled back funding for the advertising campaign.