Lawsuit alleges new Oklahoma cigarette fee unconstitutional

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A lawsuit filed by cigarette makers, distributors and three Oklahomans alleges Oklahoma's new $1.50 fee on a pack of cigarettes is unconstitutional.
 
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Phillip Morris USA, Inc., R.J Reynolds Tobacco Co. and the others alleges the fee violates a state constitutional prohibition against passing revenue-raising measures in the final five days of a legislative session.
 
Before adjourning May 26, lawmakers adopted a smoking cessation fee that's expected to generate about $258 million to help balance the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
 
The lawsuit says the fee was passed in the last five days of the session, didn't originate in the House and didn't receive three-quarters majority vote required by the constitution.

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