CASAA's Jan Johnson discusses legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.
0:50 – Leesburg, FL local alert update: Resolution drafted by Tobacco-Free Partnership to urge retailers to stop selling flavored tobacco. Resolution was rejected 4 to 1 by City Council. This is important because this is often a first step in banning flavored tobacco (and rolling e-cigarettes into that ban).
4:30 - San Luis Obispo, CA local alert update - ban on use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is prohibited passed.
5:45 – Denton, TX local alert update – e-cigarette use banned where smoking prohibited with an exemption for vape shops. The council heard about two-and-a-half hours of testimony and public comments before coming to the decision. That’s in addition to a meeting two weeks ago that went until nearly 1 a.m. as a long line of citizens showed up to comment on the controversial topic.
6:50 – Dixon, CA local alert update – City Council waived second reading and passed ordinance treating e-cigarette use the same as smoking. Councilman Hickman was the lone voice of dissent.
7:45 – Prior Lake, MN local alert update– It’s now illegal to light up your cigar in a lounge in the Minneapolis suburb of Prior Lake, but if it’s an electronic cigarette, you’re good to go. The City Council approved a handful of rules changes on Monday, including an ordinance that prohibits smoking lounges unless they are exclusively used for e-cigarettes. The council also approved an ordinance that requires all businesses selling tobacco and tobacco-related products to obtain a separate license according to the Prior Lake American. The final ordinance has not yet been posted, but discussion can be found here in minutes from the council’s April 13 meeting.
10:40 - Livermore, CA local alert update – City Council met 4-13-15 and voted unanimously to ban e-cigarette use where smoking is prohibited, including in parking garages.
12:00 - Washington, D.C. - DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has introduced the city’s budget for 2016. The proposal includes the “Vapor Product Amendment Act of 2015” which would tax e-cigarettes at the same rate as other tobacco products which is an unjustifiable 70% of wholesale. Hearing on Friday, May 8th at 10:00 a.m. Please plan to attend the hearing and send an email to oppose this tax. If you plan on testifying at the hearing, you need to register by Wednesday, May 6th. If you plan on submitting written testimony, please do so by Thursday, May 7th (or bring 15 copies to the hearing). Please note that even if you do not wish to testify or offer written testimony, you should (1) participate in the Call to Action to send an email/make a phone call, and (2) attend the hearing to show opposition. Full details in the Call to Action.
14:25 - Indiana – HB 1432 is now on the governor’s desk, and it is vitally important that vapers respectfully insist that he veto the bill. In addition to CASAA’sCall to Action, we are rebroadcasting Hoosier Vapers’ Call to Action (which calls for phone calls and tweets to the governor). Call governor at 317-232-4567 to express opposition or tweet @GovPenceIN.
15:50 - Orange City, FL local alert update – Ordinance that would have banned e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited has been defeated! There was so much opposition to this ordinance that the City Council tabled it and didn’t offer it for a second reading.
16:55 - Vermont – SB 139 (46% tax as well as adding e-cigarette use to state’s anti-smoking laws) barely passed the house. Call to Action updated to include an email/phone campaign directed at Senate asking that the bill be defeated.
17:50 – Rhode Island – Call to Action issued for SB 463 would impose an 80% wholesale tax on tobacco products, with a hearing scheduled for Tuesday, April 5th. Please attend the hearing if at all possible. Details on attending the hearing and sending an email are included in the Call to Action.
20:10 - Texas – Call to Action on SB 97 and HB 170 has been updated. It is IMPERATIVE that vapers participate in the updated Call to Action to send an email to defeat legislation that would impose overly burdensome restrictions on online sales to adults. Likely to be voted on Tuesday, May 5, 2015.
21:30 - Delaware – Call to Action for HB 5 (bans e-cigarette use wherever smoking is prohibited) has been updated. Please send an email or make a phone call to express opposition. Note that an amendment has been offered (H1) that would grnat an exemption for vape shops. While CASAA opposes the entirely of HB 5, if you feel so inclined, you can advocate for an exemption for vapor retail stores by mentioning that you are supportive of Amendment H1.
22:30 - Montgomery County, MD – Hearing on Bill 15-15 (30% wholesale tax on e-cigarettes) set for Tuesday, May 5th at 7:30 p.m. Please plan on attending the hearing and participate in the Call to Action to let County Council know you oppose this bill.
23:15 – Florida – HB 827 (would include e-cigarettes within the definition of “drug paraphernalia” that is deemed contraband) – Florida’s legislative session has been concluded, so this bill is dead.