Tobacco Settlement Interim Committee Proposal

Tuesday, November 30, 1999

On Monday November 29, the Tobacco Settlement Interim Committee met in Santa Fe and approved a plan to disburse 40% of the funds from the Tobacco Settlement for FY 2001.

The first year plan includes:

  • $5.75M (29% of the projected $19.771M available) to fund a public health initiative, with "comprehensive tobacco cessation and prevention programs based on CDC's 'best practices' and diabetes prevention outreach
  • $5.95M for the Next Generation Fund (endowment to support youth development programs statewide)
  • $275,000 (.275M) for the New Mexico Media Literacy Project
  • $3.8M for early childhood development home visits for at-risk children
  • $4M to UNM for an endowed chair in research on tobacco illnessses and funding for contracted research on lung tissue regeneration (Lovelace)

This plan was based on an original proposal put forth by Committee Co-Chair Rep. Gail Beam of Albuquerque, who said that the settlement funds are not "a pot of gold"; "New Mexico's share is not enough to fund a cure for emphysema" or cure our medical ills, however worthy the cause, but, with this proposal, "we can make a difference with a fairly small amount of money" by focusing on the "development of people".

The plan was adjusted to take into account Sen. Rod Adair's concern with funding research, especially the Lovelace tissue regeneration project.

The plan passed 4-2. Voting in favor were Co-Chairs Rep. Beam and Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, Rep. Mimi Stewart, and Sen. Carlos Cisneros. Voting against were Sen. Rod Adair ("reluctantly"), and Rep. Rob Burpo. Non-voting member Rep. Miguel Garcia noted he would have voted "reluctantly" for the proposal.

The Interim Committee also approved a plan to set up an Oversight/Distribution Council to see if funded areas are living up to expectations, and to determine how funds will be spent the next year and in each following year.

The Committee also unanimously approved the introduction of a Product Placement Bill, to discourage young people from stealing tobacco products.

The Committee also wants to require that the state Education Department administer the Youth Tobacco Survey, in order that New Mexico can qualify for matching funds from the American Legacy Foundation, to support local media campaigns regarding tobacco abuse.

Rep. Beam also has some interest in having youth come up with a name for the Tobacco Settlement funds, perhaps by working through the Media Literacy Project.

source: NMCAT (New Mexicans Concerned About Tobacco)

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