In a nearly unanimous vote yesterday, the Indiana Senate overwhelming approved legislation that will finally attempt to reform the state’s controversial vaping laws. Passing with a 49-1 margin, the bill now heads to the House, although it is unclear if Senate Bill 1 will be altered in any way to gain a House majority vote.
If approved, the only thing standing in its way is a signature from Governor Eric Holcomb, the successor to Mike Pence who is now the new Vice President of the United States. It was Pence who had originally signed the previous bill into law – legislation that many in the vaping industry allege creates a monopoly for the Indiana security firm Mulhaupt’s of Lafayette.
Sen. Randy Head leads the charge to overturn Indiana vaping laws
The Indiana vaping laws have been so widely criticized as corrupt and unethical that they have even been the focus of an independent probe by the FBI. Furthermore, the Indiana Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has already deemed portions of the legislation as unconstitutional – specifically those that related to out-of-state vendors. Senate Bill 1 is an attempt to rectify the remaining issues for in-state vape shops.
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Sen. Randy Head is largely credited with writing and proposing the amended legislation that hopes to restore a fair and even market statewide. The controversy began in May of 2015 when the current laws were first announced. When Pence signed House Bill 1432 into law, thousands of vape shop owners immediately felt the devastating financial effects.
According to the bill, all manufacturers of e-liquid would be required to hire a security firm with very explicit credentials. The trouble is that only one firm in the entire state - Mulhaupt’s of Lafayette – fit the bill.
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As retailers began to scramble to hire the firm, many were met with unreturned phone calls or outright rejections to do business. With no alternative security firm available, vape shops around the state were forced to consider bankruptcy. Head’s bill voids that current need to hire such a firm in the future while ensuring that all e-liquid manufacturers comply with federal guidelines.
“To be clear, this bill wouldn’t jeopardize consumer safety. It would, however, ensure manufacturers are complying with the federal standards while removing unnecessary regulatory measures currently in place. Issuing permits is a function of state government, and the state ought to do it, rather than having a single private company dole out permits."
Members of the Indiana Smoke Free Alliance cheered the passage of Head’s bill by the State Senate.
“We appreciate the efforts of Sen. Randy Head and all of the Senate sponsors in passing a reasonable bill that balances consumer protection with common sense regulations. We look forward to working with members of the Indiana House of Representatives in coming weeks."
One Democrat votes against the new bill to revise Indiana vaping laws
The lone holdout in the 49-1 victory was from Sen. Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis. In a statement to the Indiana Business journal, Taylor stated that he is opposed to any legislation that grants the federal government the authority to regulate state business, be it vaping or any other industry. He also suggested that the new bill could theoretically allow an out-of-state retailer to include cocaine or some other rogue substance as an ingredient in their e-liquid products.
This notion was quickly rebuked by several Indiana politicians, including Sen. Head himself. Head responded, “Those things are already illegal and they will still be illegal."
(Related Article: INDIANA VAPING LAWS SCANDAL: FORMER SENATOR TAKES JOB WITH VAPING GROUP)
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