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Hottinger Proposal Would End Tobacco Prevention Foundation

Just a few weeks after an Ohio anti-smoking agency tried to prevent state legislators from siphoning away some of its money, lawmakers are moving to wipe out the agency altogether.

Officials at the Tobacco Prevention Foundation had tried two maneuvers to stop legislators from taking away $230 million from its $270 million fund.

Lawmakers and Governor Ted Strickland want the money diverted to a job-creation plan. Now, while a court considers whether the diversion is legal, State Representative Jay Hottinger is proposing killing off the foundation. Hottinger says his proposal is on a fast-track for passage.

The Ohio Tobacco Prevention Foundation originally was slated to get one billion dollars in the national settlement with major cigarette companies. The money was supposed to go for anti-smoking programs, but, over the years, millions of dollars have been siphoned off for other state projects.