Oklahoma court overturns $1.50 per pack cigarette fee

The Oklahoma Capitol, in the early morning, on the last day of the regular legislative session on May 26, 2017 (Phil Cross KOKH)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court has overturned a $1.50 per pack fee on cigarettes.

The court on Thursday rejected the state's claim that the fee is intended to protect the public welfare by discouraging smoking. The court agreed that the fee violates a state constitutional prohibition against passing revenue-raising measures in the final five days of a legislative session and without a supermajority of lawmakers.

The lawsuit was filed by tobacco companies and several others after the Legislature approved the bill on the final day of the session as lawmakers sought to close an $878 million budget hole.

The fee was expected generate about $258 million.

Related: Democratic leaders call for special session after cigarette fee struck down

Similar lawsuits challenge the removal of a 1.25 percent tax exemption on auto sales and a fee on electric and compressed natural gas vehicles.

Related: Gov. Fallin believes special session will have to occur following tobacco ruling

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