ACTION ALERT – HB-2914 Amended to Allow Smoking at Gambling Facilities

HB-2914 would exempt from clean indoor air regulations gaming facilities in West Virginia including casinos and all limited video lottery establishments.

This bill was just amended in the Political Subdivision Committee to give all businesses operating with a gaming license a blanket exemption for clean indoor air regulations.

Passage of this legislation would:

– Dramatically weaken the ability of clean indoor air regulations in our communities to protect our citizens from exposure to second hand smoke as they work, live and while enjoying entertainment.

– Provide an exemption for facilities that are already smoke free and have been for a considerable time exposing its workers, patrons and vendors to harmful and toxic environmental tobacco smoke.

This legislation is being sought by a powerful special interest, the gambling industry, who are attempting to to turn back the hands of time in order to squeeze profits through exploitation of a dangerous addiction.

THIS CAN ONLY BE STOPPED BY CITIZENS LETTING THE LEGISLATURE KNOW THEY OPPOSE THIS LEGISLATION!

HB-2914 now moves to the House Heath and Human Resources Committee. Please contact members of HHR as well as your House representatives and ask them to OPPOSE this effort to attack smoke free air in West Virginia.

HOUSE HEALTH & HUMAN RESOURCES COMMITTEE
MEMBERS AND CONTACT INFORMATION

Delegate EllingtonChairjoe.ellington@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3269

Delegate SummersVice-Chairamy.summers@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3139

Delegate Longstrethlinda.longstreth@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3124

Delegate Pushkinmike.pushkin@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3106

Delegate Arvonkaren.arvon@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3384

Delegate Atkinson IIImartin.atkinson@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3185

Delegate Baldwinstephen.baldwin@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3131

Delegate Batesmick.bates@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3180

Delegate Butlerjim.butler@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3199

Delegate Cooperroy.cooper@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3119

Delegate Crissvernon.criss@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3202

Delegate Deanmark.dean@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3304

Delegate Fleischauerbarbaraf@wvhouse.gov – 304) 340-3127

Delegate Fluhartyshawn.fluharty@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3270

Delegate Hilljordan.hill@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3352

Delegate Hollenray.hollen@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3136

Delegate Householdereric.householder@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3274

Delegate Iaquintarichard.iaquinta@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3102

Delegate Loveshirley.love@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3337

Delegate Queenben.queen@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3171

Delegate Rodighieroralph.rodighiero@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3297

Delegate Rohrbachmatthew.rohrbach@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3221

Delegate Rowanruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3157

Delegate Sobonyakelli.sobonya@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3175

Delegate Whitebrad.white@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3138

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Petition to Protect Tobacco Prevention Funding

Help protect tobacco prevention, education and cessation funding in West Virginia by circulating the petition below.

Have your friends, neighbors, coworkers and family sign this petition urging legislators to support continued funding of tobacco prevention efforts in West Virginia.

Please bring these petitions with you to Tobacco Free Day at the Capitol on Monday, April 3rd OR mail them before Tuesday, March 28th to:

 

Coalition for a Tobacco-Free West Virginia
100 Association Drive
Charleston, WV 25311 Attn: Cinny Kittle

Download the petition here.

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Protect Tobacco Control Funding – Contact Legislators NOW

Over the past several years the funding dedicated to tobacco use eduction, cessation and prevention has been reduced by 45%. Even at the height of state funding West Virginia has never reached the level of funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address this serious health issue.

The toll of tobacco in West Virginia is staggering!

Tobacco is the leading public health problem in West Virginia. With some of the highest use rates in the nation, tobacco causes 4,300 deaths each year and 47,000 kids alive today will ultimately die due to tobacco use. In addition to the cost in lives tobacco is a drain on our economy.

Annual health care expenditures in the State directly caused by tobacco use are $1.00 billion and the cost to the State Medicaid program alone is $277.3 million. These numbers can be changed though through prevention, education and cessation efforts. West Virginia can not afford to cut back on funding to fight this public health menace.

Legislators should be strongly urged to continue to fund tobacco prevention and education programs at the FY 2017 level. To further reduce this line item beyond what has already been cut in recent years will cripple the tobacco program and will negatively impact every community in the state – including their district. The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free West Virginia, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association stand strongly in urging you to contact your members of the West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate and urge them to fund tobacco prevention programming so that these services essential to public health in West Virginia continue.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS NOW

Senate Member Roster and Contact Information

House Member Roster and Contact Information

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Urge Legislators to Fund Tobacco Prevention

The use of tobacco and tobacco-related products continues to be a serious public health risk in West Virginia. Our state remains at the top of national tobacco use prevalence rates in virtually every category which results in high health care costs, lower worker productivity and, most importantly, leads to the death of over 4300 West Virginians a year.

Over the past several years the funding dedicated to tobacco use eduction, cessation and prevention has been reduced by 45%. Even at the height of state funding West Virginia has never reached the level of funding recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address this serious health issue.

While the funds have been limited, the Department of Tobacco Prevention has made significant progress through community-based programs, cessation services and has led to the reduction of youth tobacco prevalence in high school students from 38.5% in 2000 to 16.2% in 2015.

Legislators should be strongly urged to continue to fund tobacco prevention and education programs at the FY 2017 level. To further reduce this line item beyond what has already been cut in recent years will cripple the tobacco program and will negatively impact every community in the state – including their district.

The Coalition for a Tobacco-Free West Virginia, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Lung Association stand strongly in urging you to contact your members of the West Virginia House of Delegates and Senate and urge them to fund tobacco prevention programming so that these services essential to public health in West Virginia continue.

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HB-2095 Threatens Local Health Regulations Including Clean Indoor Air

HB-2095 would give County Commissions throughout the state the authority to approve, modify or disapprove policies and regulations of the local boards of health. This legislation has the potential to rollback public health policies put into place by local boards of health including clean indoor air regulations.

Legislation similar to this has been introduced and defeated for several years in West Virginia and similar legislation, SB52, has also been introduced in the Senate this year.

Powerful special interests are lining up to support this bill in order to place profits ahead of public health.

This bill has been referenced to the House Health and Human Resources Committee and then to the House Government Organization Committee.

Please contact members of the House Health and Human Resources Committee as well as your Delegates and urge them to stand up for the health of West Virginians by OPPOSING HB-2095.

Members of House Health and Human Resources Committee:

Delegate EllingtonChairjoe.ellington@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3269

Delegate SummersVice-Chairamy.summers@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3139

Delegate Longstrethlinda.longstreth@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3124

Delegate Pushkinmike.pushkin@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3106

Delegate Arvonkaren.arvon@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3384

Delegate Atkinson IIImartin.atkinson@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3185

Delegate Baldwinstephen.baldwin@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3131

Delegate Batesmick.bates@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3180

Delegate Butlerjim.butler@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3199

Delegate Cooperroy.cooper@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3119

Delegate Crissvernon.criss@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3202

Delegate Deanmark.dean@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3304

Delegate Fleischauerbarbaraf@wvhouse.gov – 304) 340-3127

Delegate Fluhartyshawn.fluharty@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3270

Delegate Hilljordan.hill@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3352

Delegate Hollenray.hollen@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3136

Delegate Householdereric.householder@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3274

Delegate Iaquintarichard.iaquinta@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3102

Delegate Loveshirley.love@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3337

Delegate Queenben.queen@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3171

Delegate Rodighieroralph.rodighiero@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3297

Delegate Rohrbachmatthew.rohrbach@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3221

Delegate Rowanruth.rowan@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3157

Delegate Sobonyakelli.sobonya@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3175

Delegate Whitebrad.white@wvhouse.gov – (304) 340-3138

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Legislative Session Opens with Attack on Local Health

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One of the first pieces of legislation introduced during the 2017 West Virginia Legislative Session would allow county commissions to override polices put into place by local boards of health to protect public health.

SB52 would give County Commissions throughout the state the authority to approve, modify or disapprove policies and regulations of the local boards of health. This legislation has the potential to rollback public health policies put into place by local boards of health including clean indoor air regulations.

Legislation similar to this has been introduced and defeated for several years in West Virginia. Powerful special interests are lining up to support this bill in order to place profits ahead of public health.

This bill has been referenced to the Senate Government Organization Committee.

Please contact members of this committee as well as your Senate members and urge them to stand up for the health of West Virginians by OPPOSING SB52.

Senate Government Organization Committee

Senator Blair – Chair – craig.blair@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7867

Senator Gaunch – Vice-Chair – ed.gaunch@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7841

Senator Boso – greg.boso@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7973

Senator Clements – charles.clements@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7827

Senator Facemire – douglas.facemire@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7845

Senator Jeffries – glenn.jeffries@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7866

Senator Maroney – mike.maroney@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7902

Senator Miller – ronald.miller@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7959

Senator Palumbo – corey.palumbo@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7854

Senator Smith – randy.smith@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7995

Senator Sypolt – dave.sypolt@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7914

Senator Takubo – tom.takubo@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7990

Senator Weld – ryan.weld@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7984

Senator Woelfel – mike.woelfel@wvsenate.gov – (304) 357-7956

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Tobacco Industry Plays Dirty Tricks As State Faces Budget Crisis

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UPDATE! – Sunday, June 12, 2016 2:54 PM 

SB-1012, the tobacco tax bill, was reported on the floor of the House of Delegates and read a 1st time. An amendment has been filed by Delegates Eric Nelson and Brent Boggs to remove the preemptive language discussed in post below. Members will vote on this amendment on Monday, June 13th.

PLEASE CONTACT YOUR HOUSE MEMBERS IMMEDIATELY AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT THE NELSON/BOGGS AMENDMENT TO SB-1012.

________________________________

On Saturday the West Virginia Senate passed and the House of Delegates began to consider SB-1012, the tobacco tax bill, which is a key part of Governor Tomblin’s budget compromise legislation. This bill calls for increasing the tax on cigarettes by 65 cents per pack, increasing the tax on other tobacco products from 7% to 12% and placing a new tax on e-cigarettes.

The Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia and our partners, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association of West Virginia have consistently said the amount or increase in this tax bill was insufficient and needed to be at least $1 per pack to have a significant public health impact.

Now this bad bill has just gotten worse thanks to the dirty tricks of the tobacco industry.

Language in the legislation would preempt local governmental entities and not allow them to “regulate or prohibit tobacco product promotions and sales within retail stores, or regulate or prohibit activities covered by state code in §16-9a or §6-9e.”

According to the Governor’s spokesperson, Joseph Garcia, today before the House Finance Committee this language was added to the legislation at the request of the tobacco industry.

If passed, this language would make certain no local ordinances or regulations are passed and implemented by cities or counties regarding sale of tobacco to youth, tobacco company marketing, internet and mail sales of tobacco products and could be as far reaching as to trigger  legal challenges to local clean indoor air regulations and protection from second hand smoke.

Big Tobacco, once again, is prepared to take advantage of any situation to push their deadly product in West Virginia at any cost – even if OUR YOUNG PEOPLE PAY THE DEADLY PRICE.

Action in the House is expected to happen today or tomorrow on this legislation with the July 1st budget deadline looming.

Please contact your House of Delegate members RIGHT NOW and tell them to oppose SB-1012 and STOP BIG TOBACCO from preempting local tobacco regulations and passing a tax which will do little to advance public health in West Virginia.

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Health Organizations Say Tobacco Tax Proposal Not Enough

Smoking cost!

A coalition of health organizations today issued a statement regarding Governor Tomblin’s budget veto and new proposal to increase the tobacco tax. The Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association announced opposition to the latest proposal to raise the cigarette tax by just 65 cents a pack.

“West Virginia is facing a huge budget crisis not only this year but projected into coming years and has the highest smoking rates in the nation. It makes no sense to settle for a lower tobacco tax that generates far less revenue and does very little to reduce smoking and other tobacco use,” said Chantal Centofanti-Fields of the American Lung Association in West Virginia.

“Our leaders must do something to tackle the tobacco epidemic that is costing the state thousands of lives and a billion dollars every year. The Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia and our partners have long advocated for a cigarette tax of at least $1 a pack. An increase of $1 still puts West Virginia below the national average of $1.61 a pack. Anything less is really just a tax with no real health benefit,” stated Christine Compton of the American Heart Association.

“We urge Governor Tomblin and the legislature to unite in support of the one source of new revenue that is supported by both Republican and Democratic voters in our state – a significant cigarette tax increase of at least $1 a pack, and a comparable tax on other tobacco products,” said Hersha Arnold-Brown of American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

“Raising the tax by $1 will lead to a significant increase in the price of tobacco products, which is proven to keep kids from smoking and help smokers who want to quit. That will go a long way toward solving the budget crisis and reducing tobacco-related death and illness,” added Cinny Kittle, director of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia.

Established in 1989, the Coalition for a Tobacco Free West Virginia (CTFWV) is a statewide organization made up of private citizens and member organizations representing a cross-section of West Virginia, including health care organizations, public and private businesses, schools, civic organizations and interested individuals.

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ALERT – Contact House Finance Members to Support $1 Tobacco Tax

Smoking cost!

SB-420 would increase the state’s cigarette tax by $1.00 to $1.55 as well as increase the tax on other tobacco products from 7% to 12% and institute a tax on e-cigerettes. This bill is currently pending in the House Finance Committee.

The economic toll tobacco takes on human lives in West Virginia is enormous. The state spends over $900 million a year on the direct health care costs of smoking, according to the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.

It is well documented that increasing the price of tobacco products is the single most effective strategy in reducing tobacco use, especially among youth.

Passage of the $1 increase in the cigarette tax may be the most important vote the legislature will cast this year and will have the greatest long term impact. In addition to providing revenue in this very challenging budget year and into the future, passage of a substantial tobacco tax increase will save lives and prevent thousands of West Virginia children from a lifetime of addition.

Contact members of the House Finance Committee TODAY and  ask them to support the tobacco tax increase amounts in SB-420 as it passed the Senate.

House Finance Committee Members:

House Finance Chairman Eric Nelson: Phone: 304-340-3230; Email: nelson@wvhouse.gov

Vice Chairman Eric Householder: Phone: 304-340-3274; Email: eric.householder@wvhouse.gov

Minority Chairman Brent Boggs: Phone: 304-340-3142; Email: brent.boggs@wvhouse.gov

Minority Vice Chairwoman Nancy Guthrie: Phone: 304-340-3156; Email: nancy.guthrie@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Bill Anderson: Phone: 304-340-3168; Email: bill.anderson@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Mick Bates: Phone: 304-340-3180; Email: mick.bates@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Jim Butler: Phone: 304-340-3199; Email: jim.butler@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Ray Canterbury: Phone: 304-340-3131; Email: ray.canterbury@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Paul Espinosa: Phone: 304-340-3130; Email: paul.espinosa@wvhouse.gov

Delegate David Evans: Phone: 304-340-3151; Email: david.evans@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Cindy Frich: Phone: 304-340-3125; Email: cindy.frich@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Marty Gearheart: Phone: 304-340-3179; Email: marty.gearheart@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Bill Hamilton: Phone: 304-340-3167; Email: bill.hamilton@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Linda Longstreth: Phone: 304-340-3124; Email: linda.longstreth@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Carol Miller: Phone: 304-340-3176; Email: carol.miller@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Ricky Moye: Phone: 304-340-3162; Email: rmoyewvhouse@yahoo.com

Delegate John O’Neal: Phone: 304-340-3164; Email: john.oneal@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Dave Pethtel: Phone: 304-340-3158; Email: dave.pethtel@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Doug Reynolds: Phone: 304-340-3280; E-mail: delegatedoug@yahoo.com

Delegate Erikka Storch: Phone: 304-340-3378; Email: erikka.storch@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Ron Walters: Phone: 304-340-3194; Email: ron.walters@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Terry Waxman: Phone: 304-340-3171; Email: terry.waxman@wvhouse.gov

Delegate Steve Westfall: Phone: 304-340-3140; Email: steve.westfall@wvhouse.gov

 

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ALERT!! Senate Gov Org Committee to Originate Anti-CIA Bill Today at 2pm

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The Senate Government Organization Committee has just announced they will be originating a bill allowing county commissions and municipalities to exercise authority over local boards of health. The committee meets at 2pm on Saturday.

Contact members of the Senate Government Organization Committee and ask them to OPPOSE any legislation which weakens clean indoor air regulations or which restricts the authority of local boards of health.

Members of the committee and contact information can be found here:
http://www.legis.state.wv.us/committees/senate/SenateCommittee.cfm?Chart=govo

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