This Legislative update comes to us from our friends at Cigar Rights of America. They do an incredible jod keeping up with State and Federal Legislative issues facing the cigar industry. Take a minute and join today to fight regulation and taxation of the premium cigar industry! If you have information on a smoking Ban in your area please send the details to CRA.
Cigar Legislation is coming fast this year. Higher Cigar Taxes and FDA Regulation
While the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate begin to settle into the 113th Congress, and plans are made to reintroduce legislation to protect cigars from FDA oversight, twenty-three states are wasting no time into initiating a basket of almost fifty bills, a few of which are worthy of support, and far too many that must be defeated. More states and bills, will be arriving weekly…
Why you should not support a local smoking ban
Alabama – We’re looking for at least two statewide smoking ban bills.
Arkansas – Hoping for a tax cap bill on cigars, this session!
California – Watching the course of events in Sacramento, everyday…a tax increase bill may be on the horizon.
Connecticut – Watching for a bill to ban smoking in private clubs.
Florida – Representative Travis Cummings and Senator Rob Bradley have introduced HB 141 and SB 258, respectively, which would amend the Florida Indoor Clean Air Act, and allow local governments to restrict smoking. These bills must be defeated.
Georgia – We continue to monitor HB 84 pertaining to cigar taxation in Georgia.
Hawaii – HB 325, by Representatives Kaniela Ing, Bertrand Kobayashi, and Takashi Ohno, would ban smoking on all of Hawaii’s public beaches. It must be defeated. There is hope for a cigar tax cap bill in Hawaii, as well!
Illinois – Representative Andre Thapedi has introduced some progressive legislation that we hope advances in the 2013 session of the Illinois legislature. HB 171 would amend the Smoke Free Illinois Act and allow for smoking in gaming facilities. Likewise, Representative Daniel Burke has introduced HB 1965, allowing for the same. Also in Illinois, we OPPOSE HB 2873, that would allow home rule municipalities to impose local tobacco taxes, and we will be monitoring HB 1335, under the umbrella of the Tobacco Use Prevention Act. We SUPPORT HB 3551 in Illinois by Representative Rita Mayfield that would remove “private clubs” under the definition of “public space,” and hence an exemption to the Illinois Smoke Free Act. This is a model piece of legislation for others!
Indiana – Our standing nemesis in Indiana, Representative Charlie Brown, has introduced (as expected) HB 1128, that would remove the smoking ban exemptions for bars and taverns. It must be defeated.
Kentucky – We fully anticipate a statewide smoking ban bill to be introduced.
Maine – For the first time in CRA’s short history, we get to SUPPORT a bill in Maine! Senator James Hamper has introduced ME LD 22 as An Act to Promote Equity in Business Opportunity for Tobacco Specialty Stores (another great national model piece of legislation.) Under existing Maine statutes, only those specialty tobacco stores in business prior to January 1, 2007 could have food and drink. LD 22 would remove that “prohibition” [their word] and allow for the issuance of new licenses. Outstanding!
Minnesota – We need to watch out for tobacco tax increase legislation, within MN HF 91 (which would increases the OTP tax rate to 95% of the wholesale price), and because Minnesota State Senator Barb Goodwin in bored, there will be a bill “to ban smoking in theatrical productions.” We are also keeping our eye on either legislation or efforts to further curb “tobacco sampling” in Minnesota.
Mississippi – we OPPOSE SB 2077 by Mississippi State Senator Briggs Hopson and SB 2078 by Senator Derrick Simmons, that would bring a statewide smoking ban to Mississippi.
North Dakota – We will be working on reversing the smoking ban in cigar shops, in North Dakota, that passed by statewide referendum in November 2012.
New Jersey – No shortage of activity in New Jersey. We OPPOSE NJ A 343 and S 1795 and 1797 that would eliminate the smoking exemption for casinos and simulcast gaming facilities. We also OPPOSE the basket of smoking ban bills for outdoor parks and related locations, engulfed in NJ A 346, 418, 987, and S 144, 1249 and 1268. We also OPPOSE S 2214 that would ban the sale of flavored cigars in New Jersey, and OPPOSE S 1797 by Senator Shirley Turner, that would regulate smoking in your home.
HOWEVER, there is a silver lining in New Jersey. Senator Jennifer Beck has introduced S 1577 that would “Create a Cigar Night Smoking Exemption” for racetracks and off-track waging facilities. A wonderful bill to SUPPORT.
Oklahoma – We OPPOSE SB 36 by Senator Frank Simpson that would give local governments control over tobacco regulation, and OPPOSE SB 327 by Senator David Holt that would allow employers to hire, and fire, employees, based upon tobacco use. Oklahoma also has legislation that would raise the legal age to purchase tobacco, to 19.
Pennsylvania – Senator Stewart Greenleaf has introduced SB 80, which we OPPOSE, as it would “further prohibit smoking,” by attempting to close most areas for exemption under statewide statute, and empower local governments to pass more restrictive measures on smoking.
South Carolina – We OPPOSE H 3344 by Representative B.R. Skelton that would expand their Clean Indoor Air Act, promoting a statewide smoking ban.
Texas – We fully anticipate statewide smoking ban legislation, that must be defeated.
Virginia – We OPPOSE SB 1253 by Senator Ralph Northam that would empower Virginia local governments with the authority to regulate outdoor smoking.
Washington State – We SUPPORT the efforts of Senator Jerome Delvin with SB 5070 that would establish a special license for cigar lounges and retail tobacco shops, so that perfectly legal tobacco products can again be enjoyed in their proper environment!
West Virginia – We fully anticipate statewide smoking ban legislation, and possible tax measures, as well.
Wyoming – Representative Lee Filer has promised legislation to raise tobacco taxes in Wyoming, “excluding cigarettes.” Amazing.