By Taylor Brown
INDIANAPOLIS – House and Senate members are hashing out differences over a bill that will overhaul the state’s current vaping law, which created a monopoly in the industry.
“In general the bill is in the form I like it in. There may be some minor tweaks,” Sen. Randy Head, R- Logansport, author of the bill, said at the joint House-Senate committee meeting Tuesday.
The initial vaping law essentially created a monopoly, spurred an FBI investigation and led to a court ruling striking down part of the law as unconstitutional.
Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, sponsored Senate Bill 1 that aims to change how the vaping industry is regulated. Photo by Deonta Larkins, TheStatehouseFile.com
The new proposal removes the provisions that only one security firm, Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s, could meet. Senate Bill 1 also removes the provision that barred new manufacturers from entering the industry after July 2016.
The House made changes to the Senate’s bill, creating rules that the federal law doesn’t cover.
Some of these rules include limiting e-liquids to no more than 75 milligrams of nicotine, and requiring manufacturers to have background checks when they apply and renew a permit. The bill will also require manufacturers to change the label to say, “Warning contains nicotine and nicotine is an addictive substance” once that federal rule goes into place.
The legislators on the committee did address some concerns they had with the current form of the bill. Rep. Matthew Lehman, R-Berne, said that online sales is an issue. Some legislators are worried there is no way to ensure the person buying e-liquids online are 18 or older. Lehman has concerns with addressing the topic because it came up late in the session.
“We are pretty late in the game to make what I would call a serious policy shift, but I am open to that discussion,” Lehman said.
The Senate never discussed the idea of only having face-to-face sales. Head said his concern is ensuring that minors aren’t purchasing these products online, adding that currently people are allowed to buy cigarettes online, so it’s a discussion they need to have.
Other issues that members of the committee had were the $1,000 licensing fee and the difference in policy between open, multi-use and closed, one-use e-cigarettes.
Sen. Greg Taylor, D- Indianapolis, said that he is concerned with relying so heavily on the FDA requirements, adding that was premature since the majority of the federal regulations are not yet in place.
Head said the committee, composed of two representatives and two senators, will continue to work towards addressing their concerns. A follow-up meeting to resolve their differences hasn’t been scheduled.
Taylor Brown is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.