Lawmaker: Tobacco Settlement Aids Health Programs

 INDIANAPOLIS (AP): A top state lawmaker says Indiana's settlement of its dispute with big tobacco companies that's set to bring $217 million to the state will help Indiana meet its obligations for several health-related programs.

Indiana received about $68 million in April under an unfavorable October federal arbitration ruling, rather than the $131 million the state had expected under the landmark 1998 nationwide agreement between states and major tobacco companies.

But The Indianapolis Star reports ( the settlement announced Thursday calls for Indiana to get another $24.8 million this year, bringing its 2014 total to $92.8 million.

Indiana will also receive a $124 million payment in 2015.

State Sen. Luke Kenley says the settlement is “important to stabilize that source of revenue'' for health-related programs that money funds.