Tobacco Legislation Headed to Governor’s Desk
CSAC Policy Committee Takes Support Position on Three Tobacco Bills
March 11, 2016
The CSAC Health and Human Services Policy Committee voted to support three of the tobacco regulation bills being heard in the Special Session on Health Care. On a forth bill, the committee voted to support is amended. As a package, the bills are intended to lower the rates of smoking in California. California has a rich history of tobacco control, which has helped to reduce the rates of smoking-related diseases, as well as the costs of both. The bills that CSAC now supports are described below:
- ABX2 9 (Thurmond) would close some school tobacco regulation loopholes and expands eligibility for Tobacco Use Prevention and Education (TUPE) program funding to charter schools. ABX2 9 would require all schools to enforce a tobacco-free campus policy.
- ABX2 10 (Bloom) would allow a county, on and after January 1, 2017, to impose a tax on the privilege of distributing cigarettes and tobacco products.
- ABX2 11 (Nazarian) would establish an annual Board of Equalization tobacco licensing fee program, similar to how alcohol is licensed. ABX2 11 would increase the retailer license fee of $100 per location to $265 per location and impose a $265 fee for the annual renewal of a tobacco retailer license. It would also increase the annual distributor and wholesaler license fee from $1,000 to $1,200.
CSAC also has a support if amended position on ABX2 7 (Stone), which would close loopholes in smoke-free workplace laws, including hotel lobbies, small businesses, and break rooms. CSAC is seeking amendments clarifying that the requirements of this bill would only apply to owner-operated businesses where there is interaction with the public. Supervisors were concerned about limiting the rights of sole owner-operators who operate a business but who do not come in contact with members of the public, vendors, or other persons.
CSAC has also supported the other two pieces of tobacco legislation pushed by Legislative Democrats, including SBX2 5 (Leno) and SBX2 7 (Hernandez). SBX2 5 adds e-cigarettes/vaping products to the existing definition of tobacco products. SBX2 7 increases the age of sale for tobacco products from 18 years of age to 21. The CSAC HHS Policy Committee had developed support positions on these bills last July.
All six bills have now passed both houses and are headed toward the Governor’s desk. A seventh bill to raise taxes on tobacco products was not heard. Proponents of a tobacco tax are collecting signatures to place the issue on the November statewide ballot.