March, 2015

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Organizational Announcement

The UTSFA Board of Directors announces that Board member Nathan Coccimiglio and officers Brian DeBotelho and Catherine Burt are no longer with the Association.  We would like to thank them for their service while we organized and wish them continued success in their respective business ventures.  

The Board of Directors will be meeting soon to review options to fill the vacant Board of Director position as soon as possible to ensure we remain in alignment with our legal obligations.  If you have any questions, you are welcome to email the board directly at board@utsmokefree.org

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March 4th Update

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HB0415 “Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes” has been moved out of the Rules committee and assigned to the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.  We don’t have the agenda for when this will be presented just yet but anticipate it to be presented formally to the committee on Friday.  If it is not added on Friday, we don’t believe there will be any opportunity for public testimony since there is only 1 week left in the legislative session and generally all committee meetings are cancelled during the final week of the session.

Our stance on the bill remains the same as with the prior post but we have heard there will be an amendment to the bill released at or just before the committee meeting.  We cannot determine any level of support for this until we see the language.

As things become more clear and we are able to fully assess any actions needed from the community, further updates will be made.

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Legislative Update

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Just a quick update on the Utah legislation on or associated with the vapor industry:

  1. HB0130 – Raise use age to 21. This bill has not moved out of the rules committee and by all appearances from what our and the other lobbyists have indicated, it likely will not move thus end up in the trash. We do not support this bill and continue to monitor it for any activity.
  2. HB0131 – Tobacco shop amendments. This bill requires that anyone entering a tobacco specialty store (smoke shop) must be 19 or accompanied by an adult. This is the same law that vape shops already must follow if they take the sampling exemption. We do support this bill as it places smoke shops with the same set of rules we must follow.  We have already expressed our support for this bill to the sponsor both in writing and through our lobbying team.
  3. HB0415 – Electronic Cigarette Regulation. The taxation has been removed from this bill at this time but are monitoring for any future activity with it. It also will require proper caps, labels and permits for anyone that sells vapor products. It also does not set a preemption which means this is another set of regulations on top of the country level regulations. We will not support this bill on any level without a preemption clause would forces this bill to be the defacto “law of the land”. We also have asked that any language on caps or labels be tied to federal standards/laws so Utah does not have a unique set of rules compared to other states. We have been told that other supporters in affiliate industries also share in the same concerns outlined above. This bill is currently sitting in the rules committee (first step for all bills) which means it cannot be presented to the house or any other committee until it passes this step. We will continue monitoring this but at this time, there is no action that can be taken until we know how the language will fall on the proposal.

The legislative session ends at midnight on March 13th so we are just under 2 weeks left in the session.  We anticipate that they will vote to “suspend the rules” on Monday the 9th.  This means they will be allowed to cancel all committee meetings for bill discussions and present the bills directly to the house and senate floors.  We don’t yet know how this will play out with HB415 but will keep a close eye on it and let everyone know what they need to do once it’s time.

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