The Honorable Casper R. Taylor, Jr.
Speaker of the House
State House
Annapolis MD 21401

Dear Mr. Speaker:

In accordance with Article II, Section 17 of the Maryland Constitution, I have today vetoed House Bill 671.

This bill requires tobacco product manufacturers who sell their cigarettes in Maryland and are not participating in the "Master Settlement Agreement" to establish a qualified escrow fund to be used for any payments due in future judgements or settlements. The bill also provides that: (1) these manufacturers must contribute a certain amount to the reserve fund per cigarette sold; (2) the funds from the reserve fund can be released only under specified circumstances; (3) the manufacturers must annually certify to the Attorney General that they are in compliance with the provisions of this bill; and (4) if a manufacturer fails to comply with the provisions of this bill, civil action may be brought against it by the State, with monetary penalties and a possible prohibition from selling its products in Maryland for a specified period of time.

Senate Bill 305, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed by me on April 27, 1999, accomplishes the same purpose. Therefore, it is not necessary for me to sign House Bill 671.

Parris N. Glendening