We reported earlier this year on the reintroduction of the allocable share legislation in Missouri, which would prevent non-signatories to the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) from obtaining refunds of their escrow payments. The bill has been defeated.
It appeared that there was renewed momentum for passing the bill because Missouri’s previous failure to pass the bill was blamed for an arbitration panel’s ruling that Missouri failed to “diligently enforce” escrow payment obligations. That ruling caused Missouri to forfeit over half of its MSA payments.
Opponents of the allocable share legislated noted, however, that the arbitration decision was grounded in Missouri’s dismial escrow collection rate. Missouri collected only 24% of the required escrow payments — one of the lowest rates in the country — and had not filed a single lawsuit against noncompliant companies. The arbitration panel further found that Missouri was not required to pass additional legislation in order to satisfy its responsibilities.
The House version of the bill died in the budget commitee without a vote. A parallel Senate bill similarly failed to pass. Both were opposed by a coalition of local retailers, wholesalers and two manufacturers.