Visit our 2020 State Questions and Elections page for more information on Oklahoma ballot measures and elections.
Click below to jump to a section:
- The Gist
- Background Information
- Supporters Say…
- Opponents Say…
- Ballot Language
- More about State Question 805
[pullquote]State Question 814 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to change the way Oklahoma’s tobacco settlement money is distributed.[/pullquote]
State Question 814 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to change the way Oklahoma’s tobacco settlement money is distributed.
Every year, Oklahoma receives a payout from the 1998 tobacco lawsuit settlement. Seventy-five percent of the funds are placed in the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET), and the other 25 percent is split between the Legislature and the Attorney General.
SQ 814 would switch the percentages, with 75 percent going to the Legislature and 25 percent going into the endowment fund. It would also mandate that the funds directed to the Legislature be used to help fund the state’s Medicaid program. Funds going to the Attorney General would continue to come out of the Legislative portion.
Background Information on SQ 814
In 1998, Oklahoma and 45 other states were part of a lawsuit that ended with tobacco companies agreeing to make annual payments to states as long as tobacco is sold nationally. Voters in 2000 decided to constitutionally mandate that most of the annual payments go into a trust fund, and Oklahoma is the only state to handle the funds this way.
These annual payments are tens of millions of dollars, and the 75 percent that goes to TSET is invested. The interest is used to fund research and healthy living grants, tobacco cessation initiatives, and rural physician programs. Through these efforts, TSET says it has saved 42,000 lives and $1.24 billion in health spending. The other 25 percent from the annual payment goes to the Legislature for appropriation and the Attorney General for enforcement of the settlement. If the measure passes and the percentages are switched, legislation passed in 2020 would ensure that the Attorney General receives roughly the same amount moving forward.
Medicaid expansion is projected to cost the state between $123 and $164 million annually. The Legislature is constitutionally mandated to find a way to fund the expansion.
Supporters say …
Opponents say …
SQ 814 Ballot Language
“This measure amends Section 40 of Article 10 of the Oklahoma Constitution. It modifies the amount of the annual tobacco settlement payments to the state to be deposited into the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund. It modifies the amount of the annual tobacco settlement payments to the state to be deposited into the Tobacco Settlement Fund for appropriation by the Oklahoma Legislature. It specifies that deposits into the Tobacco Settlement Fund shall be appropriated and expended to draw down federal matching funds for the Medicaid program.”
More about Oklahoma State Question 814
- Resource: Oklahoma State Question 814, Decrease Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust Fund Deposits and Fund Medicaid Program Amendment (2020) [Ballotpedia]
- Resource: SQ 814 official state documents [Secretary of State]
- Resource: TSET Annual Report [TSET]
- Resource: TSET History [TSET]
- Resource: “What’s That?” on TSET [OK Policy]
- Media: Oklahoma voters to decide whether legislators can tap tobacco fund [The Oklahoman]
- Opinion: SQ 814 asks voters to reconsider how health care is funded in Oklahoma, and it’s worth a thought [Editorial Board / Tulsa World]
- Opinion: Good news and bad news about State Question 814 [Wayne Greene / Tulsa World]
- Opinion: Oklahoma’s TSET doesn’t need changing [Matt Glanville / The Oklahoman]
- Analysis: No matter how we fund it, Medicaid expansion will be the best investment we’ve ever made [OK Policy]
Visit our 2020 State Questions and Elections page for more information on Oklahoma ballot measures and elections. You can also: