- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A Republican state senator from Woodward is proposing a constitutional amendment to allow the state to raid money from Oklahoma’s Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust fund to pay for a teacher pay raise.

Sen. Bryce Marlatt announced Tuesday his plan to introduce a resolution to submit the proposal to a vote of the people.

Marlatt says since smoking rates have reached an all-time low in Oklahoma, the funds could be used without compromising the mission of the TSET.

The trust is a constitutionally protected fund established by a vote of the people in 2000 to use interest from tobacco industry settlement funds to pay for health care and anti-tobacco initiatives.

Trust officials said in a statement health and teacher pay are both important issues that shouldn’t be pitted against each other.

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