Saturday, June 8, 2013

Call to Action! North Carolina Proposes Arbitrary Online Sales Restrictions -- HB 864 (ENDED)

UPDATE (5/12/2013): This bill has now passed the North Carolina House and Senate. Unfortunately, the bill still contains an Internet sales provision that will lead some consumers to be unable to purchase from North Carolina vendors.

CASAA thanks those who responded to our Call to Action. 

North Carolina: RJ Reynolds-Sponsored Bill to Restrict Online Sales of E-Cigarettes -- HB 864 / SB 530



[legislative tracking / full text for HB 864]
[legislative tracking / full text for SB 530 -- already passed the Senate]

If enacted, this bill would:
- Require all retailers of "vapor products" (e-cigarettes) in North Carolina who sell via the Internet to purchase expensive age verification software.
- Lead to approximately 10% - 30% of e-cigarette consumers being unable to purchase from North Carolina vendors, as age verification software is highly imperfect.
- Provide no reasonable alternative for a vendor to conduct an Internet sale with a consumer who is unable to be verified using the third party software. 
- Potentially lead North Carolina-based businesses to move out-of-state.

As recently exposed in the Daily Caller, tobacco company R.J. Reynolds has been using its political power in several states to get legislators to submit bills that would ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors.  CASAA supports banning sales of e-cigarettes to minors, but as seen in Oklahoma and Rhode Island, R.J. Reynolds' bills have sought to do far more than restrict sales to adults.

HB 864 and SB 530 would likely force many small North Carolina businesses who sell e-cigarettes on the Internet to raise their prices or shut down, thus creating an incentive for consumers to use retailers located in other states.  This move comes despite there being no evidence that any significant number of minors are using e-cigarettes, and absolutely no evidence that minors are obtaining e-cigarettes by buying them online. 

HB 864 is currently awaiting a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee B. If you are from the North Carolina area and think you could attend and testify at a legislative hearing on this subject, please e-mail us at board@casaa.org with "NCTestimony" in the subject line.

North Carolina Residents: You should also contact your own own representative via e-mail and phone to oppose these bills. Click here to find out who represents you in the North Carolina Legislature.

Please call, write or fax the members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee B below and say:

1. You support prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products to minors, but do not support HB 864 in its current form.

2. Express your concern about Section 14-313(b2) of the bill, which would add a brand new provision to North Carolina law that would unnecessarily restrict Internet sales of e-cigarettes.  Third party age verification software sounds good in theory, but in practice the software is expensive and prone to high failure rates.

3. Explain that under HB 864, if an adult consumer was unable to be verified through the Internet software, that consumer would have no choice but to go to a vendor located outside of North Carolina.  HB 864 would even make it illegal for a vendor to send e-cigarettes through a mail service that checks a recipient's photo identification when delivering the item.

4. Explain that the restrictions would place North Carolina e-cigarette vendors at a competitive disadvantage by instituting a system that will impose significant costs for compliance. Note that the legislation would also overly burden consumers by requiring a verification be performed every time a customer buys from a vendor.

5. Tell the legislators that restrictions on online sales were instituted because online sales were being used to evade taxes. Because e-cigarettes are not taxed in North Carolina, there is no reason to implement such an onerous provision. 

6. Explain that these restrictions only serve to protect the market share of cigarette companies.

Comma delimited email lists:

House Subcommittee on Judiciary B (to oppose HB 864): hope.chadwick@ncleg.net, jonathan.jordan@ncleg.net, chuck.mcgrady@ncleg.net, john.faircloth@ncleg.net, rick.glazier@ncleg.net, pat.hurley@ncleg.net, mickey.michaux@ncleg.net, paul.stam@ncleg.net, rob.bryan@ncleg.net, debra.conrad@ncleg.net, leo.daughtry@ncleg.net, valerie.foushee@ncleg.net, joe.queen@ncleg.net, bobbie.richardson@ncleg.net, stephen.ross@ncleg.net, jason.saine@ncleg.net

Members of the House Subcommittee on Judiciary B (to oppose HB 864)

Rep Jonathan  Jordan (R) (District 93)
(Represents portions of Ashe and Watauga County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 420
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone: 919-733-7727
Home Phone: 336-846-1657
Jonathan.Jordan@ncleg.net

Rep. Chuck McGrady (R) (District 117)
(Represents portions of Henderson County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 419B
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone: 919-733-5956
Home Phone: 828-692-3696
Chuck.McGrady@ncleg.net

Rep. John Faircloth (R) (District 61)
(Represents portions of Guilford County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 613
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone: 919-733-5877
Home Phone: 336-841-4137
John.Faircloth@ncleg.net

Rep. Rick Glazier (D) (District 44)
(Represents portions of Cumberland County)
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 1021
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Office Phone: 919-733-5601
Home Phone: 910-484-4168
Rick.Glazier@ncleg.net

Rep. Pat  Hurley (R) (District 70)
(Represents portions of Randolph County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 532
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone: 919-733-5865
Home Phone: 336-625-9210
Pat.Hurley@ncleg.net

Rep.  Henry  Michaux, Jr. (D) (District 31)
(Represents portions of Durham County)
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 1227
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Office Phone: 919-715-2528
Home Phone: 919-596-8181
Mickey.Michaux@ncleg.net

Rep.  Paul Stam (R) (District 37)
(Represents portions of Wake County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 612
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone: 919-733-2962
Home Phone: 919-362-8873
Paul.Stam@ncleg.net

Rep.  Rob Bryan (R)  (District 88)
(Represents portions of Mecklenburg County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 536
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone : 919-733-5607
Home Phone : 704-331-4995
Rob.Bryan@ncleg.net

Rep.  Debra Conrad (R) (District 74)
(Represents portions of Forsyth County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 606
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone: 919-733-5787
Home Phone: 336-760-9653
Debra.Conrad@ncleg.net

Rep.  N. Leo Daughtry (R) (District 26)
(Represents portions of Johnston County)
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 2207
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Office Phone: 919-733-5605
Home Phone: 919-934-7265
Leo.Daughtry@ncleg.net

Rep.  Valerie  Foushee (D) (District 50)
(Represents portions of Durham and  Orange County)
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 1111
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Office Phone: 919-715-3019
Home Phone: 919-942-2661
Valerie.Foushee@ncleg.net

Rep.  Joe Sam Queen (D) (District 117)
(Represents portions of Haywood, Jackson and  Swain County)
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 1017
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Office Phone: 919-715-3005
Home Phone: 828-452-4286
Joe.Queen@ncleg.net

Rep.  Bobbie Richardson (D) (District 7)
(Represents portions of Franklin and  Nash County)
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 1209
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Office Phone: 919-715-3032
Home Phone: 919-853-3617
Bobbie.Richardson@ncleg.net

Rep.  Stephen  Ross (R) (District 63)
(Represents portions of Alamance County)
NC House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street, Room 1010
Raleigh, NC 27601-1096
Office Phone: 919-733-5820
Home Phone: 336-269-3704
Stephen.Ross@ncleg.net

Rep. Jason Saine (R) (District 97)
(Represents portions of Lincoln County)
NC House of Representatives
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 402
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
Office Phone: 919-733-5782
Home Phone: 704-479-1803
Jason.Saine@ncleg.net

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