An arbitration panel on Wednesday ruled unanimously that Iowa "diligently enforced" state laws against tobacco companies that did not sign the $206 billion, 25-year Master Settlement Agreement in 1998 between tobacco companies and 46 states, including Iowa. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said the 24-page decision was a "significant legal victory" for the state in a long legal battle with cigarette manufacturers that withheld a significant portion of their 2003 settlement payments to the states. The case centered on the state's enforcement efforts against tobacco companies that did not sign the Master Settlement Agreement, which required states to collect cigarette sales escrow payments from non-participating manufacturers. Since 1999, when tobacco companies sent their first settlement payments to the states, Iowa has received more than $888 million in payments.