Bill description: HB 611 establishes uniform laws regarding tobacco product and electronic cigarette regulations across the state.
Does it give government any new, additional, or expanded power to prohibit, restrict, or regulate activities in the free market? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce government intervention in the market?
The purpose of HB 611 is to establish a statewide law about what regulations local governments may impose on tobacco and vaping products. While the bill makes some positive changes, it also leaves room for improvement.
HB 611 says no local unit of government may adopt or enforce requirements for the regulation, marketing, or sale of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes that are more restrictive than or in addition to state law.
It also says no local unit of government may impose or enforce a tax or fee on tobacco products or electronic cigarettes. It should be noted, though, that state law already imposes high confiscatory taxes on tobacco products.
Unfortunately, HB 611 won’t prevent a city, town, or county from regulating or banning the public use of tobacco products or electronic cigarettes.
HB 611 also won’t preclude or preempt any local, county, or municipal government from targeting businesses that sell tobacco products or electronic cigarettes through zoning laws or land use policies.