Iowa is getting two billion dollars from cigarette-makers over the next 25 years as part of a legal settlement — and Iowa legislators this week expect to reveal, in detail, how they plan to spend next year’s allotment. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says the money will be spent on health-related initiatives.Republicans plan to put part of the money in a special savings account out of fears some tobacco companies won’t make the payments because of bankruptcy or a business closure. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says they’re taking their time on the issue so they all can come to an agreement on where they’re headed.Governor Vilsack says he’s confident the cigarette-makers will stay in businesses — and be profitable, partly because many of the tobacco companies are diversifying.Vilsack says it would be wrong to put a chunk of the state’s tobacco settlement in a savings account. He says there are real people who need real help and the tobacco settlement provides real money to help them.Also this week, the House plans to debate a bill which would force insurance companies to cover mental health treatment.
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