Cigar Rights of America Issues Legislative Update

The beginning of the New Year marks the opening of state capitols across the nation, as legislative bodies begin their deliberations for 2017.

We are only in the opening days of January 2017, and already there are cigar related bills, both positive and negative, in almost a dozen states.  CRA will work to keep you informed of legislation that we need to either support or defeat over the course of the coming weeks and months.

With that, CRA wants to bring to your attention a few pieces of legislation that have already been introduced.

The CRA is asking that all cigar voters regularly check their Legislative Action Center on the CRA website to stay current and to take action by contacting members of your state legislature.

Tax Legislation:
In New HampshireHouse Bill 333 would change current law in the state to eliminate the tobacco products tax exemption for premium cigars and ultimately in turn subject them to a rate of taxation of 65.03% of the wholesale cost.  To sign the petition against House Bill 333, please click here.

In MinnesotaHouse File 123 would alter the definition of premium cigars by dropping the phrase “hand-rolled,” and lower the distribution and use tax from $3.50 to 50 cents, which effectively creates a tax cap of 50 cents.  This is a pro-premium cigar bill as it would lower the tax burden on distributors and consumers in the state.  To sign the petition in support of House File 123, please click here.

In Hawaii, we expect the introduction of legislation in the coming days to establish a $0.50 tax cap in the state.

Enjoyment of Cigars Legislation:
In New JerseyAssembly Bill 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.  Assembly Bill 2057 has been active for over a year and recently passed the full General Assembly and was referred on December 15th the Senate committee of jurisdiction. To sign the petition in support of Assembly Bill 2057, please click here.

In VirginiaSenate Bill 938 would authorize a locality, by ordinance, to designate nonsmoking areas within outdoor public places.  To sign the petition against Senate Bill 938, please click here.

In MaineLegislative 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.  To sign the petition in support of Legislative Directive 34, please click here.

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