Senate PASSES HB-2646 – Contact House Members NOW!
HB2646, which originally passed the House as a well-thought out fireworks regulation bill, was dramatically changed and passed by the Senate though a strike and insert amendment. This new bill, which many have characterized as the “Christmas Tree” bill of the 2015 Legislative Session, now contains language to preempt local health regulations regarding clean indoor air and adds a tobacco tax increase of 50 cent per year for two years.
In short, HB2646 has joined together fireworks with cigarettes.
What could go wrong?
If passed, HB-2646 would:
– Be detrimental to West Virginia’s tourism. The vast majority of visitors from other states are non-smokers and prefer non-smoking entertainment venues.
– Force workers at establishments exempted to be exposed daily to toxic tobacco smoke resulting in increased illnesses and death due to cancer, heart disease, stroke and other tobacco-related illnesses.
– Implement a tobacco tax which would have little or no public health impact. By phasing in the tax at a low level over a number of years it simply becomes an annoyance tax to smokers and fails to achieves the public health goal of serving as a deterrent to smoking.
Above all else:
HB-2646 is a vehicle to obtain exemptions from clean indoor air regulations – a proposal which has twice been rejected this session in House committees. Everything else is just window dressing.
PLEASE EMAIL YOUR HOUSE MEMBERS NOW AND URGE THEM TO NOT GAMBLE AWAY WEST VIRGINIA’S HEALTH AND OPPOSE HB-2646.