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PLB Testifies in Opposition to 95% & 60% Tax Proposals by Rep. Pollet & Rep Harris
March 21st, 2017
Washington State House Representatives Gerry Pollet and Paul Harris introduced two tax bills in the House Finance Committee levied at the vaping industry. HB-2144 & HB-2165 would tax vapor products at 95% and 60% respectively.
Rep. Paul Harris started by presenting HB-2165, which proposes a 60% tax on vapor products at the wholesale level. Rep. Harris gave his intent to tax vapor products to plug a budget gap stemming from Harris' prior bill proposal HB-1054, that would raise the legal age limit on tobacco and vapor products to 21 years of age. Rep. Cary Condotta made his doubts in the bill clear, stating "At that rate, this tax will vaporize itself". When Rep. Condotta asked for clarification on whether vape hardware would be taxed at the same rate, Rep. Harris was unable to provide clarification and claimed that "I need to fix that".
Rep. Pollet, promoting a 95% tax bill HB-2144 stated that "the e-cigarettes and vapor products, which have soared in popularity, billion-dollar industry, should have been paying the other tobacco product tax for the last several years". He then continued to try to make a 95% tax rate seem reasonable by applying his proposed tax rate to some of the lowest priced products in the vape industry, without giving figures that accurately consider the variable device, e-liquid sizes, and prices that would highlight the absurdity of such a high tax rate.
Association of Washington Businesses (AWB) Eric Lohnes also testified on behalf of the vape industry, opposing the high tax rates of both bills, saying "they would greatly harm the vape shop industry", including "vape shops are retail locations, but they're also places people can go to get personal information and educate themselves about the products they're buying, unlike the alternate online option they would have".
Pink Lung Brigade's Vice-President, Marc Jarrett, gave testimony in opposition to both bills, arguing that "there is a test case for this", and referenced the passing of a recent Pennsylvania 40% wholesale tax on vapor products which led to the subsequent closing of "110 plus and counting vape shops have closed". Kim Thompson, President of PLB, followed with testimony that demonstrated what the tax would do if imposed, citing the DIY nature of how the vape industry got started, and how high tax rates would drive the industry into a 'Black Market' with people resorting to making their own vaping e-liquid and hardware, explaining “it was all created at the kitchen table”.
Pink Lung Brigade continues to fight regressive proposals and legislation. PLB advocates for a statewide regulatory framework that promotes good business practices, enforces youth prevention, separates vapor products from tobacco, and upholds product quality standards.
Pink Lung Brigade Officers Present To Commerce & Gaming Committee
The 2017 Legislative session got started a little early this Wednesday June 28th. The WA State Commerce & Gaming Committee invited government officials and industry stakeholders to speak about the upcoming vapor products law. The committee was addressed by representatives from American Cancer Society, the Dept. of Health, the LCB, Governor’s office, and Pink Lung Brigade.
The focus steered towards youth usage and prevention, while addressing some measures for signage, licensure, and enforcement. PLB’s President Kim Thompson expressed concerns regarding County interference with vape retail shops, while Vice President Marc Jarrett targeted the FDA’s recent deeming rules and how they’ll affect manufacturing. Special guest and vaping advocate Jeff Stier end capped PLB’s presentation with common sense analogies from an experienced and global perspective. All presenters acknowledged the FDA’s deeming rules with regard to their organization’s position on vapor products. A special ask to legislators was made by PLB to support the Cole-Bishop amendment, H.R. 2058 by contacting our state congressional lawmakers.
The most notable items for Washington State vape industry owners are that applications for vape licensing will be available August 1st 2016, while LCB enforcement of licensing provisions will begin in October of 2016. Overall, there was positive reception for all presenters, and a tone of cooperation and compromise was a dominant theme.
PLB will continue its work in the interim to obtain clarity on state licensure and enforcement, as well as, monitoring our counties and their attempts to circumvent preemption. Additionally, we will continue assisting our national advocates by lobbying support for Cole-Bishop and H.R. 2058 with Washington State’s Congressional leaders.
PLB's presentation begins at 43:00
Your Washington State Vape Association just got better. We are pleased to present to you the 2016 Board of Directors and Officers.
2016 PLB Board of Directors:
Dave Levin (Obsidian Vape, Pierce County)
Jamie Newell (Cloud 509, Kittitas County)
Carrie Bertrand (The Vape Spot, Yakima County)
Travis Bain (Artist Liquid, Snohomish County)
Jerry Dunbar (Source Code, Pierce County)
Kim Thompson (The Vaporium, Pierce County)
Marc Jarrett (Banzai Vapors, Pierce County)
2016 PLB Officers:
President: Kim Thompson (The Vaporium, Pierce County)
Vice President: Marc Jarrett (Banzai Vapors, Pierce County)
Secretary: Dave Levin (Obsidian Vape, Pierce County)
Treasurer: Trevor Taylor (Cloud Alchemist, King County)
Our community has come a long way baby, and it is just getting stronger. We look forward to future growth and the strength that comes in numbers. We were pleased to have received such an outpouring of interested applicants.
Congratulations Washington State vape community, the Child Safety First Bill was born into law today. During the 2015 - 2016, Washington State Legislature sessions, 3701 bills were introduced; less than 400 of them passed. We should all be proud parents as it takes a village to raise a bill to become a law. Now, we must continue to parent this industry.
This is what we can expect:
2016 is not only Washington’s Year of Vape it is also an election year. Although vapor products are no longer considered to be tobacco products under the eyes of Washington State law, Pink Lung Brigade, its members, and supporters will continue the movement by educating our community. We have a unique opportunity to educate our incumbent legislators and new candidates alike.
In the days to come we will highlight the Washington State law makers & legislators who were instrumental in seeing this common sense law come to pass.
Please stay supportive, engaged, and tuned in to notifications for meetings, rallies, fundraisers, and calls-to-action throughout the rest of the year leading up to a new legislative session.
With the most incredible bipartisan support, SB-6328 passed the Senate with a vote of 37 yeas, 6 nays and passed the House with 74 yeas, 20 nays. Now the bill moves to Governor Inslee's desk and awaits signature for official passage into law.
If signed into law, SB-6328 will focus on youth prevention, best business practices, and statewide uniformity. Stay tuned to Pink Lung Brigade as we closely monitor the bill through signing and will ultimately break down the particulars of the bill once it becomes law.
For more information about SB-6328, please click here!
Kitsap Public Health Board seeks input on proposed vapor products ordinance.
The Kitsap Public Health Board (KPHB) is seeking public comment on proposed rules
that would prohibit vaping in public places and places of employment,
prohibit access to or possession of vaping products by youth, restrict how
retailers provide sampling, and require retailers to obtain permits to sell
vapor products in Kitsap County.
The Kitsap Public Health Board will be hosting three public comment workshops throughout the month of March.
Bremerton: Thursday, March 10, 6-7:30 p.m.
Norm Dicks Government Center Chambers
345 6th St.
Bremerton, WA 98337
Please RSVP at: https://www.facebook.com/events/878196178959646/
Port Orchard: Monday, March 21, 6-7:30 p.m.
Port Orchard City Hall Chambers
216 Prospect St, Port Orchard, WA 98366
Please RSVP at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1572349179750395/
Poulsbo: Tuesday, March 29, 6-7:30 p.m.
Poulsbo City Hall Chambers
200 Moe St NE, Poulsbo, WA 98370
Please RSVP at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1574719326180865/
This is your chance to be heard on the proposed vaping regulations for Kitsap County before the ordinance goes to a formal public hearing and then a vote by the Health Board. Be prepared to share your personal story, as well as, why being able to vape in an adult-only vape shop was critical to your success in converting to a smoke-free alternative. Please encourage friends, family and loved ones to come with you and share their stories as well.
Please limit vaping at or on the KPHB and government property before, during and after the workshops. Always remember that we are making friends and educating people.
Updates will be posted on the Kitsap Public Health District Vaping page and distributed via the Kitsap Electronic Notification System (KENS) list.
For more information on the Kitsap Public Health Board Ordinance, click here.
Washington State Representative Dick Muri of the 28th District VS. Gerry Pollet of the 46th District square off for a debate on vapor product regulations!