JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Bob Holden signed an executive order Friday to hold Missouri's portion of money from the national tobacco settlement in a trust fund for health care initiatives.
The order puts an estimated $4.5 billion, according to the governor's office, in a special account until lawmakers decide how to spend the money.
Holden has said he wants to use the settlement money to pay for prescription drugs for seniors, anti-smoking programs, life-sciences research and early childhood programs.
The state will begin receiving the first $319 million in April.