STATE OF THE STATES!
The VTA is tracking over 260 bills to date this legislative session. Below are highlights of our successes and our active engagement across the country.
Kentucky: Any consideration of a tax has been killed for this session in Kentucky. Further, HB 11, a school ban bill, was amended to include Tobacco 21. The T21 effort was stymied, only to be followed by a bizarre Vape 21-only bill. That too was stymied but once again T21 resurfaced. For now, it appears that strong work on the ground by theKentucky Smoke Free Association and VTA Board Member companies is holding the effort at bay.
Michigan: An amendment to HB 4164 that would add vapor products to T21 was defeated. VTA lobbyists actively opposed the bill as two of our vape shop members of theVapors’ Association for Rights and Standards testified in opposition to the legislation.
New Mexico: VTA’s lobbyists worked closely with the New Mexico Smoke Free Allianceto successfully defeat, not one, but two flavor bans pushed by the legislature. We are now actively engaged in defeating a dangerous vapor tax as the session is quickly winding to a close.
Virginia: Even though the T21 bill did pass, the Virginia Smoke Free Association and VTA’s lobbyists have successfully held off further consideration of tax legislation this session with the issue being pushed to a study committee.
West Virginia: Although SB 348, implementing T21, passed the Senate. VTA was able to defeat it in the House prior to adjournment.
Wyoming: VTA lobbyists prevented anti-vaping legislation from passage with the adjournment of the session on February 28.
Alabama: Working with the Breathe Easier Alliance of Alabama, we are fighting against some burdensome regulations in HB 1.
Alaska: Currently there are no bills related to the vapor industry.
Arizona: We are on the offensive. VTA’s model legislation, first introduced by the Arizona Smoke Free Business Alliance, is moving. In addition, together we are fighting T21 as well as a 43% wholesale tax.
Arkansas: VTA’s lobbying team and the Arkansas Vape Advocacy Alliance engaged leaders on the core tax issue for many weeks and, as a result, we were successful in removing another vapor products proposed tax legislation from a major bill designed to fund cancer research. Unfortunately, the Governor has indicated support for additional taxes and we will continue to oppose those efforts while we oppose T21 which has significant support amongst lawmakers.
California: VTA is very actively engaged in proposed flavor ban legislation SB 38 and AB 739 with multiple teams on the ground. We expect a hearing in the Senate Health Committee before the end of the month with passage highly likely. We are actively working against it while focusing our efforts on the Assembly where there is more opportunity for dialogue on the issue. Stay tuned for some important developments on the California front.
Colorado: HB 1033, allows local regulation of nicotine including tax at the local level. The bill has passed both chambers. As passed, the legislation limits the ability of the local unit of government to tax by eliminating the state tobacco tax dollars for those units of local government that choose to enact a local tax. We continue to work with the Governor’s Office on reasonable limitations on local taxation. VTA is proud to be working with theRocky Mountain Smoke Free Alliance to defend Colorado.
Connecticut: VTA and the New England Vapor Technology Association continue to fight against legislation that would ban flavors, raise the purchase age to 21 and implement a burdensome tax on the industry. VTA will be submitting written comments to support the testimony of local business owners at a hearing this week.
Delaware: SB 25 would implement T21 in the state. VTA and the New England Vapor Technology Association are aggressively opposing the legislation that passed out of committee this week.
Florida: VTA and the Florida Smoke Free Association continue to fight against SB 1046 which would prohibit the retail sale of flavored nicotine products. In addition, we are jointly opposing T21 legislation in SB 1618 and HB 1041.
Georgia: To date, VTA and the Georgia Smoke Free Association have held all anti-vapor bills at bay. There is still time left in the session, so we will not let up and will defend to the end.
Idaho: Currently there are no bills impacting the vaping industry before the legislature.
Illinois: HB 345 and SB 21, implementing T21 for both combustibles and vapor products is moving in both chambers and appears likely to pass. VTA and the Smoke Free Alternatives Coalition of Illinois are aggressively working to defeat SB 1124, which would enact a devastating 36% wholesale tax.
Indiana: VTA and the Indiana Smoke-Free Alliance are fighting a 4 cents per milliliter tax and a joint Call to Action was issued.
Iowa: HF 467, increases tobacco tax to over 100% and adds vapor products. VTA andIowans For Alternatives to Smoking Tobacco are actively engaged in defeating the proposal.
Kansas: Currently there are no bills impacting the vaping industry before the legislature.
Louisiana: VTA’s lobbying team is opposing HB 38 which would implement T21.
Maine: LD 1028, an 81% wholesale has been referred to the tax committee. In addition to opposing this legislation, VTA and the New England Vapor Technology Association are also working on the defeat of LD 90 which would ban all flavored products with the exception of premium cigars.
Maryland: With strong support from the Democratic Caucus and the Black Caucus, T21 is gaining traction in companion bills, SB 895 and HB 1169. VTA and the Maryland Vapor Alliance are working hard to prevent vapor products from being defined as tobacco in the legislation and defeat these anti-vapor initiatives. In addition, the VTA model regulatory bill is scheduled for a hearing this coming week.
Massachusetts: The Governor is pushing a tax on vapor products but a bill has not been filed yet. VTA and the New England Vapor Technology Association are actively working to get in front of the potential tax proposal.
Minnesota: VTA’s lobbyists and Minnesota vapor leaders are actively opposing T21 legislation.
Montana: VTA’s lobbyist and the Montana Smoke Free Association defeated a flavor ban in HB 312 earlier in the session. However, another flavor ban has been filed in HB 628, and we are actively working to defeat this one as well.
Nebraska: VTA’s lobbyists are actively opposing T21 legislation filed in LB 149. VTA is also actively working to ensure efforts to ban flavors or ban certain categories of products are defeated.
Nevada: VTA and the Nevada Vaping Association are opposing efforts by some legislators to include vapor products in the definition of tobacco products.
New Hampshire: VTA and the New England Vapor Technology Association are aggressively fighting HB 680 which would impose a 65% wholesale tax on vapor products as well as define them as tobacco.
New Jersey: VTA is working closely with the New Jersey Vapor Rights Coalition to vigorously oppose legislation to create 75% wholesale tax and fix the current tax imposed.
New York: VTA’s lobbyists are heavily engaged in Albany working a sophisticated leadership and committee strategy to defeat the flavor bans in both the Assembly and Senate (A47 and S428) as well as T21.
North Carolina: VTA is working with the North Carolina Vaping Council which, to date, has held all anti-vapor bills at bay. We will continue to collaborate and fight off negative legislation through the end of the session in mid-July.
Ohio: The Ohio Vapor Trade Association, working with VTA, has prevented the introduction of negative legislation to date. VTA will continue to fight against anti-vaping proposals with OHVTA through the remainder of the session.
Oklahoma: VTA lobbyists are opposing an effort to raise the purchase age to 21.
Oregon: VTA and the Oregon Vapor Trade Association are working to get ahead of a potential proposal to tax vapor products.
Pennsylvania: The VTA is strongly opposing HB 697, a bill to establish T21.
Rhode Island: VTA’s lobbyist and the New England Vapor Technology Association are opposing a T21 proposal recently filed.
South Carolina: VTA’s model language on shipping vapor products has been added to HB 3420. In addition, the bill prohibits local governments from implementing flavor bans as well as adding additional taxes.
South Dakota: There have not been any anti-vaping bills introduced to date but we are closely watching potential legislative vehicles.
Tennessee: VTA’s state association member, the Tennessee Smoke Free Association,is opposing a pair of T21 bills, HB 1419 and HB 1454, that are expected to be considered in committee next week. TSFA has been enormously effective at killing anti-vapor bills and is well positioned again this session.
Texas: VTA and the Texas Vapor Coalition is opposing SB 1332 and HB 3364 that create a 10-cent tax (5 cent wholesale) (5 cent use) introduced as part of an omnibus tax package.
Utah: VTA and the Utah Smoke Free Association are opposing HB 324 which would implement T21.
Vermont: VTA and the New England Vapor Technology Association are fighting an effort to implement a wholesale tax on vapor products in HB 47. We continue to oppose T21 in the House despite passage in the Senate of SB 86.
Washington: VTA and the Pink Lung Brigade successfully held off a 95% wholesale tax proposed in HB 1873 during a packed hearing on the issue. Our opposition included 95 people who signed up to testify against it. Despite this effort, it appears that some sort of tax will be implemented due budget concerns. Together, we will continue to actively engage with lawmakers on the issue to ensure that the industry is not saddled with a burdensome tax.
Wisconsin: VTA’s lobbyists are opposing a recommendation by the Governor to tax vapor products at the same rate as tobacco, 71% of manufacturer’s list price.