Ark. AG announces agreement with tobacco companies

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas' attorney general says an arbitration panel has issued a ruling that will allow a settlement to proceed between Arkansas and several tobacco companies that signed a 1998 anti-smoking agreement.

The tobacco companies said Arkansas and certain other states had violated the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement by failing to enforce state tobacco laws. Arkansas disagreed.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's office said Thursday that an arbitration panel made up of 3 retired federal judges issued a ruling on Tuesday.

Under the agreement, Arkansas will receive its share of more than half of the money that has been held in escrow for nearly a decade.

Arkansas receives about $60 million per year under terms of the Master Settlement Agreement. Its 2013 payment will be boosted by more than $22 million.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.