URGENT Call to Action! Oklahoma Again Tries to Tax E-Cigarettes and More — FA #2 to HB 2097

This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at CASAA. View original post.

***URGENT*** 

Ask OK Senators to OPPOSE Floor Amendment #2 to HB 2097 by Senator Rob Johnson 

Floor Amendment #2 Is Nearly Identical to SB 802 — The Amendment Would Tax E-Cigarette Sales, Impose Licensing Restrictions and Essentially Prohibit Online Sales

THIS COULD BE VOTED ON ANYTIME TOMORROW (April 16, 2013) AFTER 9:30 A.M. CST.  

[full text of Floor Amendment #2 to HB 2097 by Senator Rob Johnson
[legislative tracking for HB 2097]
[previous CASAA Call to Action for SB802

If enacted, this bill would:

  • Ban e-cigarette sales to minors, but would also…
  • Tax sales of “vapor products” (e-cigarettes and cartridges) and “tobacco-derived products” (e-liquid and cartomizers containing nicotine) at 5 cents per 1.48 ml of liquid.
  • Require e-cigarette retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco products and abide by 30+ pages of regulations governing how tobacco products are sold. 
  • Make it a criminal offense for consumers to buy e-cigarettes online 

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UPDATE (4/15/2013):  On April 9, 2013, after somewhere between 250 and 300 e-cigarette users and members of the Oklahoma business community came out to Oklahoma City to protest SB 802 (a bill authored by RJ Reynolds), the House Health Committee wisely voted unfavorably on the bill.

SB 802 was sponsored by Senator Rob Johnson (who previously falsely claimed that e-cigarette companies sold their products in malls so they could target youth).  Unfortunately, it appears that Senator Johnson is not giving up.

Senator Rob Johnson is now attempting to railroad SB 802 through the Oklahoma Senate by attaching it as an amendment to an entirely unrelated bill, HB 2097.

You may also like:  CASAA Call to Action! Nebraska Smokeless Tobacco Tax Increase -- LB439

CASAA is requesting that Oklahoma citizens come out even more strongly against FLOOR AMENDMENT #2 TO HB 2097 than they did Senator Johnson’s previous bill to tax e-cigarettes, require licensing, and prohibit online sales. 

There will be no public hearing before Floor Amendment #2 to HB 2097 comes up for a vote, and thus we need Oklahoma citizens to immediately contact members of the entire Senate.  The most important action for Oklahoma citizens to take is to contact and speak personally with their Senator.  

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RJ Reynolds (which makes Camel cigarettes, snus, dissolvables, etc. and will soon be marketing its own e-cigarette) is continuing to push for Senator Johnson’s bill.  Why is Reynolds encouraging Oklahoma legislators to make it harder for Oklahoma e-cigarette stores to buy product?  Why is Reynolds trying to ban Internet sales?  Simple — it will benefit RJ Reynolds by making it harder for adult consumers to purchase premium e-cigarettes.   

RJ Reynolds has its lobbyists out every single day fighting for Floor Amendment #2 to pass.  This is why we need a strong, continuing response from Oklahoma vapers.  Please continue to contact the members of the Senate with a simple message — YES on banning sales to minors, NO on creating new taxes, NO on licensing, NO on Internet sales bans, and NO on supporting this cynical ploy by RJ Reynolds to snuff out competition. 

Cigarette maker Lorillard, which also owns blu cigs, has also previously encouraged Oklahoma legislators to support SB 802.  


Please call or write members of the Oklahoma Senate below 

1. Inform them you OPPOSE Floor Amendment #2 to HB 2097 because it would impose an unwarranted sin tax on electronic cigarette sales, hike taxes on tens of thousands of Oklahoma citizens, harm the availability of e-cigarettes by requiring Oklahoma retailers to only buy products from tobacco wholesalers, and make criminals out of thousands of Oklahoma citizens who purchase e-cigarettes online.

2. Remind the Senators that this amendment is identical to SB 802, which was already soundly rejected in the House Health Committee, and that this is a cynical ploy to end-run a decision that has already been appropriately made by the Senate.

3. Inform the legislators that by taxing vapor product liquid at 5 cents per 1.48 ml of liquid, you would see a TAX INCREASE if SB 802 is enacted.  In fact, a consumer buying a 30 ml bottle of e-liquid for $17 would see their tax liability raise approximately 30%! 

4. Explain the vast majority of Floor Amendment #2 to HB 2097 is unnecessary and will have unintended consequences on Oklahoma-based small businesses and Oklahoma e-cigarette users.  Additionally, note your opposition to defining e-cigarettes to be a “tobacco product.”

5. Note that the citizens of Oklahoma do not support new taxes and burdensome regulations. Further explain that imposing such wide-ranging laws on e-cigarette sales only serves to protect cigarette markets and will hurt small businesses in Oklahoma.

6. Explain that there is no evidence that any significant number of youth are using e-cigarettes, let alone buying them on the Internet.  A recent survey of 228 adolescents that was published in the Journal of Adolescent Health did not find a single nonsmoking youth who had even tried an e-cigarette.

7. Inform them that Floor Amendment #2 to HB 2097 would not only require e-cigarette sellers to obtain a license to sell tobacco, but would also mandate that the only buy their products from an Oklahoma-based distributor or wholesaler.  This provision would impact the availability of hundreds of specialty e-cigarette products, as there are no Oklahoma businesses wholesaling these products.

8. Direct them to the CASAA.org website for more information.


Oklahoma Senate — Who to Contact

(1) Contact your own State Senator using the ‘Find My Legislator’ tool in the bottom right hand corner of the Oklahoma Legislature’s website.  E-mail and/or call your legislator immediately!

Before contacting your State Senator, check to see how they voted on SB 802 when it came up for a vote (weeks before e-cigarette users became aware of the bill).  If they voted ‘Yes,’ explain why they should now vote against Floor Amendment #2. If they voted ‘No,’ explain why they should again vote ‘No’ on Floor Amendment #2. 

 When writing letters to legislators, be sure to include your full name and address.

(2) Contact the full Oklahoma Senate and collectively encourage them to vote NO on Floor Amendment #2 to HB 2097 
 

Comma delimited list: 
aldridge@oksenate.gov, allen@oksenate.gov, anderson@oksenate.gov, ballenger@oksenate.gov, barrington@oksenate.gov, bass@oksenate.gov, bingman@oksenate.gov, boggs@oksenate.gov, branan@oksenate.gov, brecheen@oksenate.gov, brinkley@oksenate.gov, brooks@oksenate.gov, brownb@oksenate.gov, burrage@oksenate.gov, coates@oksenate.gov, crain@oksenate.gov, dahm@oksenate.gov, david@oksenate.gov, ellis@oksenate.gov, efields@oksenate.gov, fordj@oksenate.gov, garrisone@oksenate.gov, griffin@oksenate.gov, halligan@oksenate.gov, holt@oksenate.gov, ivester@oksenate.gov, johnsonc@oksenate.gov, johnsonr@oksenate.gov, jolley@oksenate.gov, justice@oksenate.gov, loveless@oksenate.gov, marlatt@oksenate.gov, mazzei@oksenate.gov, mcaffrey@oksenate.gov, newberry@oksenate.gov, paddack@oksenate.gov, schulz@oksenate.gov, sharp@oksenate.gov, shaw@oksenate.gov, shortey@oksenate.gov, shumate@oksenate.gov, simpson@oksenate.gov, sparks@oksenate.gov, standridge@oksenate.gov, stanislawski@oksenate.gov, lewis@oksenate.gov, treat@oksenate.gov, wyrick@oksenate.gov

Steve K

Hello and welcome to Steve K