Ohio Supreme Court Hears Debate Over Tobaco Money.

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The Ohio Supreme Court is ready to hear arguments over the state’s 2008 move to use about $230 million set aside for tobacco prevention for other purposes. Ohio officials plan to tell the court Tuesday why they chose to put the funds toward expanded health care for children and optional Medicaid services. Anti-smoking groups challenging the state’s decision to use the money on something other than programs to stop smoking argue the move is unconstitutional. The 10th District Court of Appeals in Columbus sided with the state earlier this year.

Lawmakers originally wanted to use the tobacco money as part of a $1.57 billion economic stimulus package. A lawsuit prevented that. Lawmakers then diverted the money in the latest two-year budget to expand children’s health insurance and provide optional dental and vision coverage through Medicaid.

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