We reported last month on a bill in Mississippi that would have nearly doubled the fee applicable to non-signatories to the state’s tobacco settlement agreement. We can now report that the bill has died in committee, and it therefore appears that the fee will remain at its current rate of 27 cents per pack
Mississippi is one of four states, along with Florida, Texas and Minnesota, that are not signatories to the MSA, having settled separately with the major tobacco companies. Of the four non-signatories, Mississippi and Minnesota have enacted separate “equity fees” applicable to non-signatories, which require the non-signatories to make payments similar to the major tobacco companies’ settlement payments. Cigarettes manufactured by the SPMs, which are part of the MSA but which have not settled with the other four states, are subject to the “equity fees.”
The Florida and Texas legislatures have now introduced their own NPM fee legislation. The Florida bill, Senate Bill 252, would impose a fee of 52 cents per pack on non-settling manufacturers’ cigarettes. The Texas bill, House Bill 2453, would impose a fee of 55 cents per pack, with annual increases adjusted for inflation.
Similar bills introduced over the last several years have been defeated.