Arkansas governor: Use tobacco funds for disabled programs

Arkansas governor: Use tobacco funds for disabled programs

Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is proposing tapping into $8.5 million in unused money from the state's 1999 settlement with tobacco companies to provide more services to the developmentally disabled.

Hutchinson told members of the Tobacco Settlement Commission Tuesday that the funds would provide home- and community-based services for between 500 and 900 additional people. More than 3,000 people are on a waiting list for the services, and some have been waiting since 2007.

Hutchinson told commissioners he'll ask the Legislature next year to redirect the money, which had previously funded a health insurance program that ended in 2013 when Arkansas expanded Medicaid.

Arkansas was among 46 states that sued tobacco companies in the 1990s and agreed to accept $62 million a year in a settlement with the firms.

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