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Missouri – Stop the Local Assault on Safer Nicotine Products
04/21/21 – Vote 9-4, “Do Pass” w/ amendment preempting existing smoking and vaping bans – Committee on Downsizing State Government
04/12/21 – Hearing Rescheduled for April 14, 2021, 12:00 PM, Committee on Downsizing State Government.
04/07/21 – Hearing (POSTPONED)
04/01/21 – Referred to House Committee on Downsizing State Government; Hearing scheduled: 12:00 PM, Apr. 7, House Hearing Room 5)
01/07/21 – Second Reading
01/06/21 – First Reading
12/14/20 – Prefiled
HB 517 would prohibit local governments in Missouri from making laws regulating the sale of vapor and alternative nicotine products. Local governments would still be allowed to tax these products, but rules about where and what products can be sold are reserved for the state.
This bill also raises the purchase age for tobacco and nicotine products from 18 to 21 years old. While CASAA supports the preemption language of HB 517, we are opposed to continuing the policy of criminalizing possession and use and encourage our members to raise this concern with lawmakers. Missouri already criminalizes possession and use, so this is not a new policy, and may not be addressed by this bill. But it is certainly a good idea to keep these issues in the forefront of lawmakers’ minds.
Probably one of the most important reasons for preempting local regulation of tobacco and nicotine products is the observation that city and town officials are not typically steeped in public health training, nor do they possess backgrounds in science. After all, most of the day-to-day work of a city council involves making sure that roads get paved and budgets are balanced. In other words, local officials are typically not trained to make public health policy decisions that have such significant consequences, like banning sales or use of certain nicotine products.
As a result, local governments are at the mercy of experts and activists when it comes to receiving and deliberating over information about any particular issue. In many cases, officials are pressured to rush anti-nicotine regulations through the process by declaring an emergency and side-stepping any drawn out debate on the matter. This is a move informed mostly by emotion over-seasoned with scary out-of-context statistics about youth use.
Preemption can be a remedy to the manipulation of local officials’ feelings about smoking, vaping, and substance use. Restricting decisions about public health regulation to a more deliberative state legislature also provides more opportunities for all stakeholders to have their voices heard.
Take Action Now!
Take a moment to send a message to Majority Floor Leader, Rep. Dean Plocher urging him to move HB 517 to a vote in the House.
- State that you support HB 517.
- Urge Leader Plocher to call HB 517 up for a vote in the House.
- Be polite, be brief, and say ‘thank you.’ 🙂
Contact Leader Plocher:
- Email: Dean.Plocher@house.mo.gov
- Phone: (573) 751-1544
Find your State Representative and use the tool below to find their contact information. Urge them to support HB 517