By Taylor Brown
INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that strives to fix Indiana’s current vaping law, part of which was ruled unconstitutional, passed the Senate Tuesday.
Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said she voted and spoke against Indiana’s current law regarding the vaping industry last year with the fear it would give undue control to one company, which it did.
“I am pleased that we are taking action this year to fix this so that it is real competition and yet we have safe guards for the public,” Becker said.
Indiana’s vaping law created highly specific restrictions on security, cleanliness and audit requirements essentially resulting in a monopoly. Only one security firm, Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s, could meet the requirements and decided who could have a manufacturing business in Indiana. The current law also created a provision that barred new manufacturers from entering the industry after July 2016. In the end, only seven businesses could manufacture e-liquids in the state.
Then in January, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled parts of Indiana’s current law unconstitutional for violating the Commerce Clause through inflicting regulations on out-of-state manufacturers. Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, author of the bill said that these changes are necessary not only to comply with federal law, but to also bring back competition.
If Senate Bill 1 becomes law, it would follow the federal regulations regarding e-liquid manufacturing, which were not in place when the current law was written. Relying on the federal government regulations is what made Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, vote no for the bill.
“One of the things I don’t understand about this bill is why are we depending on the federal government to regulate a product that consumers that we know in Indiana are going to be using. The federal government, like all of us know, can delay things,” Taylor said.
Not all federal regulations are currently in effect. Head explained that as the federal regulations go into effect. Indiana will be required to follow them. Plus, parts of the original law will remain. Indiana e-liquid manufactures will still be required to keep tampered-resistance packaging, childproof caps and lot numbers.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Commission would now be the ones to approve e-liquid manufacturing permits. The bill also allows any e-liquid produced by any ATC approved manufacturer prior to July 2017 can sell and distribute products until the expiration date of the e-liquid.
The bill passed out of the Senate 49-1 and will now move over to the House.
“I think that we’re creating better laws for Indiana,” Head said.
Taylor Brown is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.