Wednesday, February 17, 2016

CASAA Podcast Update - February 15th, 2016

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

0:43 - Alaska Call to Action: Two bills (SB 133 and HB 304) would enact a 100% wholesale tax on vapor products (liquids and devices). Alaska lawmakers seem to be under the impression that the vapor market is dominated by big tobacco companies and many feel that this tax effort strikes at their profits. Obviously, these lawmakers are unaware of the devastating impact such a tax will have on consumers and small businesses in Alaska.

2:54 - Washington -  HB 1645 was amended and rushed to a floor vote in the house on Friday, February 12th within a matter of hours. Such tactics have been used to intentionally exclude stakeholders from the legislative process. CASAA will be issuing a Call to Action soon that will focus on engaging the WA Senate.

4:41 - West Virginia Call to Action: 7.5¢ per milliliter tax on e-liquid, 12% wholesale tax on hardware, raise the wholesale tax on smokeless tobacco from 7% to 12%.

4:53 - Maryland: HB 861 would enact a 30% wholesale tax on vapor products. Call to Action is pending. A hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 in the Committee on Economic Matters.

5:06 - Pennsylvania Call to Action: The 40% wholesale tax on vapor products is back in Governor Wolf’s FY2017 Budget proposal.

5:51 - Vermont Call to Action: H.171, an indoor vaping ban, will be heard in committee on Friday, February 19th, 2016 at 8:00 AM.

6:07 - Utah: A call to action is pending for two tax bills that are expected to be scheduled for committee hearings soon.

6:30 - Georgia Call to Action: HB 907 is a carbon copy of a bill -- which is currently the subject of litigation -- that passed the Indiana legislature in 2015. Georgia advocates have responded quickly to calls to action from CASAA and the GSFA which has resulted in the bill being gutted. However, we remain cautiously optimistic as a similar back and forth took place in Indiana last year. The Georgia legislative session concludes on March 31st, 2016.

8:51 - HR 2058: New sponsors added which brings the total to 48 co-sponsors. Unfortunately, this is still a partisan bill as all of the co-sponsors are Republican. We are hopeful that co-sponsorship will include the other side of the isle as harm reduction is certainly not a partisan issue.

9:45 - Chicago, IL Call to Action: Chicago Department of Public Health is misinforming residents with their #VapingTruth campaign in an effort to justify the city’s ruinous extra tax on e-liquid.

11:45 - The CASAA Newsletter is out. If you’re not signed up to receive emails from CASAA, please make sure to check the “opt-in” box on the registration form. Also, make sure to check your spam filter if you believe you should have received our newsletter but didn’t.

12:39 - Register to Vote! 23 states allow residents to register to vote online. Make sure you are registered to vote and then make sure you actually get out and VOTE!

14:02 - The CASAA Testimonials project has received over 8000 submissions -- and there are millions more out there. If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to share your story. The collection is a valuable advocacy tool and it is getting the attention of lawmakers.

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