Attorney General: Honorable Kevin B. Sullivan, President Pro Tempore, 2000-004 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

February 10, 2000

Honorable Kevin B. Sullivan
President Pro Tempore
Senate
Hartford, CT 06106-1591

Dear Senator Sullivan:

This letter responds to yours of December 29, 1999, in which you ask this office for a formal opinion regarding the applicability and effect of Sections 26 and 45 of Public Act 99-2, June Special Session on tobacco settlement monies. Specifically, you have asked for an opinion "concerning whether Section 45 alters, in any way, the express provisions of Section 26 and, if so, the nature and extent to which it does."

Public Act 99-2, June Special Session ("the Act") is an omnibus piece of legislation containing 72 sections and entitled "An Act Concerning Public Health Expenditures; Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Transportation Costs, Centers, Vendor Payments and Information on Arrested Persons; Tobacco Settlement Funds; Dental Clinics; Community Health Centers; Access to Agency Data; Nail Technician and other Licensure Requirements; Studies of Prostate, Breast and Cervical Cancer; School Coaches; Body Piercing; Needle Exchange; Water Supply; Day Care Workers; a Medical Insurance Study; an AIDS Drug Program; Loan Funds for Hospitals; the Office of Child Advocate; the Child Fatality Review Panel; State Employee Death Benefits; Lottery Sales; Sexual Offenders; Pharmacy Computer Problems; HIV Testing; Notification of Medical Test Results; and Technical Changes."

In addition to the sections you have noted in your letter, we find Section 27 of the Act relevant as well. Thus, the provisions at issue provide as follows:

Sec. 26. (NEW) (a) There is created a Tobacco Settlement Fund which shall be a separate nonlapsing fund. Any funds received by the state from the Master Settlement Agreement executed November 23, 1998, shall be deposited into the fund.

(b) The Treasurer is authorized to invest all or any part of the Tobacco Settlement Fund and all or any part of the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund created in section 27 of this act. The interest derived from any such investment shall be credited to the resources of the fund from which the investment was made.

(c) For the fiscal years ending June 30, 2000, and June 30, 2001, annual disbursements from the Tobacco Settlement Fund shall be made as follows: (1) First to the General Fund in the amount identified as "Transfer from Tobacco Settlement Fund" in the General Fund revenue schedule adopted by the General Assembly; and (2) second to the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund in an amount equal to twenty million dollars.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (2) of subsection (c) of this section, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, five million dollars shall be disbursed from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to a Tobacco Grant account to be established in the Office of Policy and Management. Such funds shall not lapse on June 30, 2000, and shall continue to be available for expenditure during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001.

(e) Grants shall be made by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management in consultation with the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the majority leader of the House of Representatives, the majority leader of the Senate, the minority leader of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the Senate, and the cochairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health and appropriations and the budgets of state agencies, or their designees. Such grants shall be used to reduce tobacco abuse through prevention, education, cessation, treatment, enforcement and health needs programs.

Sec. 27. (NEW) There is created a Tobacco Health Trust Fund which shall be a separate nonlapsing fund. The trust fund may accept transfers from the Tobacco Settlement Fund and may apply for and accept gifts, grants or donations from public or private sources to enable the trust fund to carry out its objectives.

Sec. 45. (NEW) Any governmental entity or Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, [26 U.S.C.A. 501] or any subsequent corresponding internal revenue code of the United States, as from time to time amended or Section 501(c)(4) of said Internal Revenue Code organization, including, but not limited to, local health districts and regional action councils, which receives state dollars for tobacco education or reduction or prevention of tobacco use, shall submit a plan to the Department of Public Health identifying the target population, the methods for choosing the target population, and the evaluation component for the effectiveness of the program. Such plan shall be approved by the Department of Health prior to the release of funds.

Pursuant to these sections of the Act, any funds received by the State from the Master Settlement Agreement in the tobacco litigation ("the Agreement") are to be deposited into the "Tobacco Settlement Fund," established pursuant to Section 26(a) of the the Act. From that fund, the Act directs the disbursement of those monies to three destinations:

  • For the fiscal years ending June 30, 2000, and June 30, 2001, the Tobacco Settlement Fund shall annually transfer funds to the General Fund "in the amount provided by the General Fund revenue schedule." Section 26(c)(1).
  • For the same fiscal years, $20 million per year will be transferred to the "Tobacco and Health Trust Fund," established by Section 27 of the Act. This trust fund not only accepts transfers from the Tobacco Settlement Fund, but also accepts gifts, grants or donations from public or private sources. Section 26(c)(2).
  • During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2000, $5 million is to be transferred into the "Tobacco Grant account" for use during that and the following fiscal year. Section 26(d).

Subsections 26(d) and (e) provide the specific grant approval process for monies disbursed out of the Tobacco Grant account. Pursuant to Section 26(d), the Secretary of OPM establishes this account and, pursuant to Section 26(e), in consultation with designated legislative leaders, makes grants "to reduce tobacco abuse through prevention, education, cessation, treatment, enforcement and health needs programs."

Section 45, on the other hand, is a section of much more general application, and concerns the required approval process for plans to spend "state dollars" received by governmental entities or Section 501(c)(3) organizations "for tobacco education or reduction or prevention of tobacco use." Application of Section 45 is not limited to monies from the Settlement Fund, from the Master Settlement Agreement itself or from the Tobacco Grant account, as are subsections 26(d) and (e), but rather applies generally to "state dollars." Nor is section 45 limited to disbursement of monies during particular fiscal years, as are subsections 26 (d) and (e).

Reading Public Act 99-2, June Special Session, as a whole, and with an eye toward harmonizing its several parts and avoiding duplicative efforts and bizarre results; In re Sheldon G., 216 Conn. 563, 578 (1990); we conclude that grants awarded by the Secretary of OPM in consultation with the legislative leadership do not require the additional executive department approval process delineated in Section 45. This conclusion is supported by the general maxim of statutory construction that provides that "the more specific legislation governs over the general legislation." Wisniowski v. Planning & Zoning Commission, 37 Conn. App. 303, 313 (1995). In this situation, the review and approval process in subsections 26(d) and (e) is clearly more specific in relation to the Tobacco Grant account than is the review and approval process contained in Section 45.

Our conclusion that the Legislature intended sections 26 and 27 to be distinct from section 45, and therefore have distinct application, is further supported by the provision in section 72 that the former provisions were to take effect on July 1, 1999, while section 45 was not to take effect until October 1, 1999.1

Thus, to answer your question precisely, we conclude that Section 45 of the Act does not alter the express provisions of Section 26, and specifically that the grants awarded pursuant to Section 26(e) do not require a plan and approval by the Department of Public Health under Section 45.

We hope that this has sufficiently addressed your inquiry.

Very truly yours,

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL

Gregory T. D'Auria
Assistant Attorney General

RB/gtd


1 Public Act 99-2, 72, June Special Session, provides: "Sec. 72. This act shall take effect from its passage, except that sections 1, 6, 13, 16, 20, 22 to 27, inclusive, 34 to 36, inclusive, 40 to 43, inclusive, and 53 shall take effect July 1, 1999, sections 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 17 to 19, inclusive, 21, 28 to 31, inclusive, 33, 37, 44, 45, 47 to 52, inclusive, 61 to 66, inclusive, 69 and 70 shall take effect October 1, 1999, sections 2 and 3 shall take effect January 1, 2000, sections 54 to 58, inclusive, shall take effect October 1, 2000, and section 7 shall be effective until October 1, 2000."


Back to the 2000 Opinions Page
Back to Opinions Page



Content Last Modified on 6/6/2005 3:41:18 PM