Monday, June 8, 2015

Kansas Call to Action: Oppose ANY new tax on vapor products!

(Update - 06.12.15)

Overnight, the Kansas legislature passed the tax bill containing a 20 cents per milliliter tax on e-liquid. However, this is not an end to this Call to Action. The tax and distribution regulations will not take effect until July 1, 2016, which is a full legislative session away. Now more than ever, Kansas advocates should take the time to reach out and educate their lawmakers about how damaging this vapor tax will be -- not just to the Kansas economy, but to the health of thousands of Kansas residents.

Please use the tools below to find and contact your Representative and Senator. You will have time to write, call, and set up personal meetings with them between now and the 2016 legislative session.

To all those in Kansas that participated in this call to action, Thank You. Now, grab a friend and get them ready for the 2016 legislative session.

(Update - 06.08.15)

Last night (Sunday, June 7th, 2015), the Kansas Senate approved a bill that would impose the 20 cent per milliliter tax on e-liquid. Fortunately, the tiered distribution system that was mentioned in previous updates was stripped out of the plan.

The bill now moves to the house and will be voted on around 2:00 PM today.

(Update - 06.04.15)

There was no shortage of drama in the Kansas Legislature today as a tax on vapor products was removed from a revenue bill almost as quickly as it was introduced. However, despite the disappearing act, this tax is still very much in play along with a 3-tiered distribution system that would be very damaging to both vapor businesses and vapor consumers in Kansas. It should be no surprise that one particular tobacco company is pushing this measure.

Even if you have already taken action before, please take a moment now to contact lawmakers from your district and urge them to oppose ANY effort to enact a tax on vapor products and oppose the tiered distribution regulation.

The legislature seems to be getting the message that consumers are not supportive of a tax on e-cigarettes. We need to keep the pressure up and make sure they understand that the additional regulation -- the tiered distribution system -- will not be any more tolerated.

Please also take a moment to call House leadership and urge them to oppose any e-cigarette tax as well as the tiered distribution system that will likely force many retailers to go out of business. We have provided contact information and talking points below.

Please see Kansas Vapers Association on Facebook for the latest updates on this issue.

Kansas House Leadership
Sam Brownback
Speaker of the House
Ray Merrick
House Majority Leader
Jene Vickrey
House Majority Whip
Willie Dove
913 909-5866
House Minority Leader
Tom Burroughs
House Minority Whip
Ed Trimmer

Suggested talking points:

  1. I am a Kansas resident/taxpayer/voter and I am opposed to taxes on e-cigarettes and opposed to over-regulation of the distribution chain.

  1. The proposed 3-tiered distribution system is excessive and unnecessary. If such a measure is truly needed, then consumers should have an opportunity to comment on the regulations, but now is not the time to rush this proposal.

  1. The proposed tiered distribution system would give an unfair advantage to one particular manufacturer of combustible cigarettes that is seeking to limit their competition in the vapor market. Such regulation would be anticompetitive and would ultimately limit my access to the wide variety of vapor products.

(Update - 06.03.15)

With a possible government shutdown looming, the Kansas Legislature is madly scrambling to fix its current budget woes. A Conference Committee of six State Reps and Senators has been announced. One powerful member who has been assigned to the committee, State Senator Les Donovan (R), has been strongly pushing for an unjustifiable 20 cent per ml tax and we expect that he will continue to do so in the committee.

If the Conference Committee votes to include a vapor product tax, it could be on the Governor’s desk in mere hours. This will come despite the fact that not a single hearing has been held on the tax proposal.

Even if you have already taken action before, please take a moment now to contact the members of the committee as well as lawmakers from your district and urge them to oppose ANY effort to enact a tax on vapor products.

Advocates living in a district represented by one of the committee members will be receiving an additional alert prompting them to take action. If you know that you live in one of the following districts, please click here to take action. To find your district please click here.

Rep. Marvin Kleeb
Dist - 48
Rep. Gene Suellentrop
Dist - 91
Rep. Tom Sawyer
Dist - 95
Sen. Les Donovan
Dist - 27
Sen. Caryn Tyson
Dist - 12
Sen. Tom Holland
Dist - 03

(Update - 06.02.15)

Last night, a budget bill amendment that would have imposed a $0.20/ml tax on e-liquid was debated on the floor of the senate. Most of the amendment was defeated including the vapor tax. However, as many Kansans are aware, there remains a very large gap in the state’s budget. Although this amendment did not succeed, the budget shortfall remains and lawmakers will be scrambling over the next few days to find untapped or underutilized sources of revenue. It is likely we will see an attempt to tax e-cigarettes again.

The next few days are likely to be chaos in the Kansas legislature which is why it is vital that harm reduction advocates reach out to lawmakers and urge them to oppose any attempt to tax e-cigarettes.

(Update - 06.01.15)

Tax language is on the move in the Kansas Senate TONIGHT. We are now receiving intel that this is a $0.20/ml tax on e-liquid that is being inserted into a budget bill. It is likely the bill will be voted on tonight, Monday, June 1st, 2015.

Please stay on alert as this will likely move on to the house for consideration tomorrow. We will issue updates as this bill moves through the process.

(Original Post - 05.20.15)

It is likely that tax language regarding electronic cigarettes will be added to a tobacco tax bill in Kansas. As soon as more details emerge, we will update this alert. In the meantime, we are asking Kansas advocates to take action by sending a message to lawmakers urging them to oppose ANY taxes on vapor products.

Please take action NOW and send a message to Kansas lawmakers urging them to oppose ANY taxes on vapor products.

(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.

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