As we wrote last week on how the “opposition was at work” trying to undermine H.R. 1639 that would prevent the U.S. Food & Drug Administration from regulating cigars, we were talking about the joint letter from the American Cancer Society “Cancer Action Network,” American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, in their letter to Congress that was full of their traditional propaganda. Little did we know….
There was another group at work this week against our interests. In fact, it was just yesterday– the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. They did it again.
In the July 7 Federal Register, FDA restated its authority to issue regulations deeming “other tobacco products” to be subject to their domain [when the legislative intent was cigarettes and smokeless products.] They further stated “The scope of the proposed rule deeming cigars to be subject to FDA's jurisdiction that was previously included in the Unified Agenda is being broadened to encompass products that meet the statutory definition of tobacco product.” They now assert their (new) timetable for such regulations as October of this year.
You see, they want it all. They want to control, regulate, and make no mistake, have it as difficult as imaginable to enjoy perfectly legal tobacco products – including that cigar you'll be enjoying to launch the weekend, tonight.
But Congress is listening, and we need to seize the moment as legislators are tired of bureaucrats regulating the everyday lives of Americans, and literally choking the nation's economy with new rules that hinder growth. It's just like our friends at The Daily Caller said today regarding the Environmental Protection Agency, “EPA Saves Us From Job Growth.” In that same vein, FDA wants to threaten thousands of jobs associated with the national and international passion for a great cigar.
With each passing week H.R. 1639 gains momentum in Washington, DC, as the list of sponsors has grown to thirty members of the US House of Representatives. New to the sponsor list includes: Representatives Sam Graves of Missouri and Lynn Jenkins of Kansas. If your Member of Congress is a sponsor, call with your appreciation! With House Resolution 1639 filed in the U.S. House of Representatives, under the banner of the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, we now have an opportunity to protect this passion we share. What you can do:
Now, Texas joins the list of states that have set aside attempts for broadened statewide smoking restrictions. Despite numerous attempts at attaching a statewide smoking ban to the state budget, the Texas Senate has prevailed in stopping such parliamentary and political maneuvers for 2011. These actions in California and Texas now join similar defeats for new statewide smoking laws in Indiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina and West Virginia.
Supporters said the bill is needed to protect the health of bartenders, waitresses and others who work in smoke-filled environments, citing figures that show hundreds of deaths in Louisiana each year can be attributed to secondhand smoke.
"It fundamentally comes down to who are we interested in protecting," Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, said. "I want to stand on the side of people and their health."
As the bill left the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, it would have banned smoking in all bars, but would have continued to allow the practice in casinos. But Marionneaux offered a floor amendment that called for a total ban, including Indian and non-Indian casinos.
That amendment fell on a 21-15 vote.
But opponents said the bill would hit the state in the pocketbook by driving smokers - and the tax revenue they bring in - to other states.
"Those people who like to smoke...are going to go to the people who will receive them and cater to their wants," said Sen. Dan "Blade" Morrish, R-Jennings, who said the ban could have a negative impact on riverboat casinos in Lake Charles.
They include: Mike Pompeo of Kansas ; David Rivera of Florida; Tim Walberg of Michigan ; and Rob Whitman of Virginia.
They join Representatives: Sandy Adams of Florida ; Ken Calvert of California ; Kathy Castor of Florida; Tom Cole of Oklahoma ; John Kline of Minnesota ; Candice Miller of Michigan ; Ron Paul of Texas ; Hal Rogers of Kentucky ; and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
We commend the leadership of Representative Bill Posey of Florida for serving as chief patron of this unique and proactive legislation.
Please sign the CRA petition supporting this legislation!
Next week, we'll talk about what the opposition is saying, in their attempt to stop this legislation...
Click the links below to read past CRA release about the FDA:CRA News Release, Part 1CRA News Release, Part 2CRA News Release, Part 3
Four Democrats, including committee Chairwoman Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, voted against the bill that is backed by a coalition of tavern owners and slot route operators.
The coalition has been trying to persuade lawmakers to change the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act since voters passed it in 2006. Its efforts have been mostly unsuccessful.
That ballot measure forced many tavern owners to choose between serving food or allowing smoking, which significantly undercut their business.
“My understanding is this is only allowing food to be served where smoking is allowed and doesn't broaden (where smoking is allowed),” Assemblyman Pat Hickey, R-Reno, said before voting in favor of the measure. “I think it's a fair bill.”
Health advocates and those who funded the ballot measure opposed the legislation, saying it was an underhanded attempt to poke holes in the indoor smoking ban.
Sponsors of the legislation amended their original bill several times to ensure it would not apply to typical restaurants or other areas where children are allowed.
The measure would also allow indoor smoking at tobacco conventions.
Assembly Bill 571 now heads to the Assembly floor for a vote.
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