Yes, the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) deeming regulations on premium cigars has been in effect since August 2016; and yes, we officially have a new President and the landscape of the Senate and House of Representatives has changed. But, the diligent efforts of Cigar Rights of America (CRA) to protect the premium cigar industry and the need for our continued support by making our voices heard by our elected officials has NOT changed.
Below are a few pieces of state legislation that will impact our right to enjoy premium cigars, and require immediate attention. Calling on our brothers & sisters of the leaf in the following states to contact your elected officials for action (all links directed to the CRA Action Alert site with templates for messages to your respective elected officials):
Say NO to Indiana House Bill 1313 - HB 1313 has been introduced in the Indiana House of Representatives, and would remove the exemption that allows for indoor smoking in tobacco and specialty cigar stores. Click HERE to request your members of the Indiana House of Representatives to vote "NO" on HB 1313.
Say NO to Proposed Tax Increase on Premium Cigars - Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) has proposed a tax increase on premium cigars in his most recent proposed budget, proposing raising the excise tax levied on premium cigars and other tobacco products from 10% to 20% of the wholesale cost. Click HERE to contact your member of the Kansas State Legislature and request they vote "NO" on Governor Brownback's proposed budget.
Say YES to Massachusetts SD 171 - State Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) has introduced a pro-premium cigar bill in the Massachusetts General Assembly that seeks to modify the current taxation rates on premium cigars in the Commonwealth by creating a tax cap of $0.50. Click HERE to contact your Senate and House Representatives to SUPPORT SD 171.
Say YES to Maine LD 34 - Maine's Legislative Directive 34 would provide a pathway for tobacco specialty stores, not licensed before January 1, 2007 to serve nonalcoholic and alcoholic beverages, to apply to be licensed as a cigar lounge and be exempted from the prohibition provided certain requirements are met. Click HERE to contact your Senate and House Representatives to SUPPORT LD 34.
Say YES to Minnesota House File 123 - Minnesota House File 123 is a pro-premium cigar bill that would alter the definition of premium cigar and lower the rate of taxation on premium cigars in the state by creating a tax cap of $0.50. Click HERE to contact your Senate and House Representatives to SUPPORT HF 123.
Say NO to Mississippi House Bill 1204 - Mississippi State Representative Bryant W. Clark (D-District 47) has introduced a bill entitled the "Smoke-Free Air Act of 2017"(HB 1204) in the Mississippi legislature. Under the text of the bill, smoking would be prohibited in public enclosed places, including cigar shops, as well as public outdoor places in the state. Click HERE to contact your member of the Mississippi State Legislature and request that they vote NO on HB 1204.
NEW HAMPSHIRE (2 ACTIONS NEEDED)
Say YES to New Hampshire House Bill 279 - New Hampshire Representative's Robert Hull (R-Grafton) and Lino Avellani (R-Carr) have introduced and sponsored HB 279 in the General Court that would make changes to the New Hampshire Indoor Smoking Act. HB 279 would remove the prohibition on smoking public conveyances that are privately owned, as well as restaurants, grocery stores, and cocktail lounges. Click HERE to contact your Senate and House Representatives to SUPPORT HB 279.
Say NO to New Hampshire House Bill 333 - HB 333, is an anti-premium cigar bill that would eliminate the state tobacco products tax exemption for premium cigars and ultimately subject them to a rate of 65.03% of the wholesale cost of each cigar. Click HERE to contact your Senate and House Representatives to vote "NO" on HB333.
Say YES to Assembly Bill 2057 - AB 2057 would authorize a municipality to adopt an ordinance allowing certain new cigar lounges within the municipality that are exempt from the provisions of the "New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act" to open. The bill has been moving favorably, and was referred to the to Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on December 15, 2016. Click HERE to contact your state representatives to request that they continue to SUPPORT AB 2057 (select "Health" in the drop-down menu for Issue Area if submitting your correspondence electronically through the CRA site).
Say NO to Senate Bill 938 - SB 938 would authorize a locality, by ordinance, to designate nonsmoking areas within outdoor public places. Click HERE to contact your Senate and House Representatives to say "NO" to SB 938.