In 1998, the Attorneys General of 46 states signed the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with the four largest tobacco companies in the United States to settle state suits and recover billions of dollars in costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses. Four states – Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Texas – settled their tobacco cases separately from the MSA states. A portion of the MSA proceeds funded the creation of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

Chapters 31 and 31.1 of Title 3.2 of the Code of Virginia contain statutes governing various aspects of the Commission. Broadly, those serving the Commission may be split into two groups – members (or commissioners) and staff.

The Commission is composed of 28 members, and appoints from its membership a chairperson and vice-chairperson. These and other details on membership are described in §3.2–3102. Members are appointed to one or more committees. Each committee is assigned a chairperson by the Commission chair; some committees have a vice-chairperson or are structured to have co-chairs.