This year’s distributions to public health and substance abuse treatment and prevention projects from the state’s Millennium Fund, a trust fund set up from Idaho’s share of proceeds from a nationwide tobacco settlement, were approved by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning on a unanimous vote, as recommended by the Legislature’s joint Millennium Fund committee. That panel amended its recommendation on Feb. 21 to add $180,600 in funding for the Idaho Lung Association for school-based tobacco programs.
The largest chunk of the $6.5 million in distributions goes to the state Department of Health & Welfare for smoking cessation and tobacco counter-marketing, at $2 million. Second-largest is the Department of Correction for community-based substance-abuse treatment services, at $1.86 million. Other distributions include $270,000 to the Idaho Meth Project; public health districts will get $500,000 for tobacco cessation programs; the governor’s Office of Drug Policy will get $627,600 for a media campaign against abuse of prescription drugs; and Idaho Drug-Free Youth will get $150,000 for a parent and teen prevention education program.
The joint Millennium Fund committee recommended transferring the remaining $4 million available for distribution this year into the permanent endowment fund, a move Rep. Phylis King, D-Boise, opposed, saying that wouldn’t help anyone stop smoking. The permanent endowment fund now has a balance of $175.8 million. However, some are worried that future payments to states from the tobacco settlement will decline. JFAC approved the transfer on a 19-1 vote, with just King objecting.