Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CASAA Podcast Update July 27, 2015

CASAA's Jan Johnson and Alex Clark discuss legislative- and advocacy-related matters of current interest to CASAA members and THR (tobacco harm reduction) advocates.

1:30 - Discussion about the role of advocacy groups.

4:15 - Arkansas - There is a great deal of discussion in social media about the situation in Arkansas, and people seem surprised about the legislation.To provide a bit of background on Arkansas, CASAA was tracking the bill since the time it was introduced. When introduced, it was a shell bill (meaning it had no substantive provisions, more like a placeholder), and nothing happened with that bill for months. Overnight, the shell bill was amended to include pages and pages of regulations and was slated to go to committee in a couple of days. A Call to Action was immediately issued, but it turns out that a lobbyist on the ground, without consulting with any national organizations, basically went in on his own and negotiated some modest changes to the legislation before it was made public. Consequently, there was little or no opportunity for further changes. (Listen to the podcast for more details on this score.) People in Arkansas did respond, but given the timing and the fact that the legislation was presented to legislators as being supported by industry (which wasn’t at all a fair characterization), there was little to be done.

8:00 - Discussion of the importance of industry engaging in the legislative process by organizing and hiring competent lobbyists. It is likewise important that vapers pay attention to what is going on and then act. People assume that advocacy groups are huge with many workers. The reality is that most of the advocacy groups are run by a handful of people with little (if any) paid support. If every single CASAA member donated $1 a month, CASAA would have enough money to hire a couple of full-time staff people. For those who want to become more involved in advocacy, you can find more information here.

11:30 - Pennsylvania Call to Action - If you haven’t yet thanked your legislators for not taxing e-cigarettes, please do so now.

13:00 - Consider sending a thank you note to legislators as a follow-up when you see them doing something positive. Examples of thank you notes can be found here.

14:55 - Alabama Call to Action - Alabama is looking at a potential 25-cent-per-ml tax at the behest of the governor. Monday, August 3rd, the legislature comes back for a special session where they will likely consider the tax. It is important that people respond NOW, before the legislature goes back into session. We have 1,300 members in Alabama, and to date, 378 have participated in the Call to Action (300 of whom are new members). A shout-out to Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama, which is on the ground fighting this battle.

16:40 - Testimonials - We hear from local folks that they’ve had conversations with lawmakers in their states, and what lawmakers seem to be most curious about is whether or not these products actually help people. It is great to be able to point people to CASAA’s growing collection of testimonials. If you haven’t yet shared your story, please do so.

18:00 - Brief discussion of how vendors can help support CASAA by providing information to their customers--our consumers--and help get them involved and engaged.

Consider donating to the CASAA Research Fund, and . . .

As always:
Submit your testimonial for the CASAA Testimonials Project and Join CASAA so that you receive the most up-to-date information on issues affecting you.

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