Monday, March 23, 2015

Indiana Call to Action: Multiple Indiana bills would threaten access to and use of e-cigarettes.

(Update - 04.20.15)

HB 1432, which would destroy the vapor industry in Indiana and essentially ban the sale of e-liquids produced out-of-state, is expected to be transmitted to Governor Pence’s office this week.  It is of critical importance that ALL vapers, their friends, and family members take this opportunity to contact the Governor and respectfully insist that he VETO this bill.

(Writing Tip #1) If you have a lot to say, please craft your email in a separate word doc and then copy/paste it into the field provided.  If you take too long, they system will time out and you will lose your work.
(Writing Tip #2) Although we've provided a prewritten email with compelling talking points, we would strongly encourage you to edit the email because personalized communications to legislators are far more persuasive than form letters.  At a minimum, PLEASE INSERT YOUR PERSONAL STORY (just a few sentences) in the text of your email.

(Update - 04.06.15)
(Update - 03.24.15)

Indiana Vapers,
Your presence is requested!
The biggest threat to e-liquid access is happening in your state
and we need your help!
★ ★ ★

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 7th at 1:00 PM, vapers and small business owners from across the state will participate in a rally outside the State House in Indianapolis. We need to send a strong signal to the Indiana Legislature that HB 1432 is anti-consumer and will harm public health.

Can't make it to the State House?  Even if you've already made a phone call on the matter, we need you to call your Indiana State Senator one more time.  They need to know that they have passionate (but respectful) constituents that truly care about how they vote on this issue.


(Update - 03.23.15)

HB 1432 (same as SB 539) is still moving toward a vote on the Senate floor and the bill is still written to gut the vapor industry in Indiana.  Even if you have previously taken action on this issue, please take a moment to send an email and call your Indiana State Senator again and let them know that you want them to Oppose HB 1432.

(Update - 03/19/15)

HB 1432 (same as SB 539) is moving toward a vote on the floor next week and both bills are still written to gut the vapor industry in Indiana.  To complicate matters, some lobbyists that are pushing these bills are attempting to convince legislators that they have “compromised” with both consumers and the Indiana e-liquid industry.  This is not true.

Although CASAA continues to be opposed to these bills and is calling for them to be rejected, we are aware that Hoosier Vapers has presented some amendments, which you can view here.  If you support these amendments offered by Hoosier Vapers, you can mention that you are supportive of them during your call.

Please take a moment to call your senator and representatives and let them know that they should NOT support either of these bills.

(Update - 03/03/15)

HB 1432 (companion to SB 539) will be heard in the Senate Public Policy Committee WEDNESDAY, 3/4/15, at 1:00 PM in Room 431. Click here for the agenda. 

Hoosier Vapers is calling for Indiana vapers to gather at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Wednesday, 3/4/15, at 11:45 eastern (in the rotunda, just past security check). For details and for the most up-to-date information, check out Hoosier Vapers on Facebook.

(Update - 02/14/15)

SB 539 was narrowly passed out of the Senate Technology and Commerce Committee on 1/29.  It has now been referred to to the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee.  A hearing is scheduled for TUESDAY, 02/17/15 at 8:30 am in room 431. Testimony will only be taken with regards to the economic impacts of the bill.  Although we are not asking consumers to turn out for this hearing, it is still an opportunity to educate lawmakers regarding the devastating consequences of this bill.

Please take action now to express opposition to SB 539

It is possible that the House version of SB 539, HB 1432, could have a hearing before the House Committee on Public Policy in the near future. Consumers should be prepared to turn out for that hearing if it is scheduled.

(Update - 01/30/2015)

Yesterday, the Senate Commerce & Technology Committee met and heard testimony regarding SB 539.  The video of the hearing is not available yet, but when it is, it will be published here.

SB 539 was passed out of committee with assurances from Senator Yoder, the bill’s author, that it will be amended to achieve the stated goals without dismantling the vapor industry in Indiana.  Between now and the next time this bill will be heard, consumers have an opportunity to help Senator Yoder make the necessary changes to this bill or, ideally, withdraw the bill entirely.

Our email campaign for this bill (and an identical version in the House) is still active.  If you have not participated yet, please do so now.

(Update - 01/27/2015)

Re: SB 539 - A hearing in the Senate Commerce and Technology Committee is scheduled for this THURSDAY, the 29th, at 9:00 AM in Room 233 of the Indiana State Capitol Building (115 West Washington St in Indianapolis).  Please take a moment to make a call to the Chair of the committee, Senator James Buck.  You can reach his office at: 1-800-382-9467

We have also put together a phone call campaign here - Make A Call

(Updated 1/21/2015)
Two identical bills, SB 539 and HB 1432, have been introduced in the Indiana Legislature that threaten to overregulate the manufacturing of e-liquid products.  These bills would prohibit the sale of any e-liquid product -- including those manufactured outside the state -- unless it is produced by a company that has procured a manufacturer’s license from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ACT). Not only does this license cost $5,000, but the conditions that must be met to receive the license are unrealistic and present a substantial barrier for small- and medium-sized businesses throughout Indiana. Ultimately, these bills will severely limit consumer access to the variety of e-liquid manufactured outside the state and potentially shut down retailers and manufacturers in Indiana.

Please take action now to oppose these bills:

Indiana Senator Brandt Hershman has introduced a bill (SB 384) that would impose a tax on nicotine contained in e-cigarette liquid.  Although the tax rate, $0.0083 per mg of nicotine, may seem modest, the imposition of any taxes on vapor products beyond state sales tax sends the dangerous and false message to smokers that use of these products is risky or harmful.  Adoption of this bill will also set a dangerous precedent, as it is always easier for politicians to raise a preexisting tax than it is to pass a new tax.  

Representative Clyde Kersey has introduced a bill (HB 1169) that alters the state’s definition of “smoking” to include “...inhalation or exhalation of vapors from an electronic cigarette.”  Despite the long list of exemptions to Indiana’s smoking law, HB 1169 does not amend any of them to account for local brick and mortar shops.  Regardless of any language along these lines that may develop, CASAA opposes this bill on the grounds that defining “vaping” as “smoking” is a deliberate misrepresentation that harms public awareness of the benefits these products offer to adult smokers.

**Please note: We are currently monitoring additional legislation in Indiana.  A punitive and destructive 24% wholesale tax has been proposed.  However, no bill has been introduced nor has draft language been made available.  As soon as we have details we will issue an update to this Call to Action.

(Update 1/21/15) We are also aware of HB 1235, which is another attempt to prohibit indoor use, impose punitive taxes, and limit consumer access by not allowing businesses to sell tobacco (including e-cigarettes) if there is a pharmacy on the premises.  Our assessment is that the scope of this bill is so unreasonable (some provisions include allowing employers to discriminate against nicotine users) that it will not pose a credible threat.  However, we will continue to monitor HB 1235 and update this Call to Action should the need arise.

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