Legislature(2005 - 2006)
04/10/2006 02:19 PM JUD
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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HB 413 - BURNING CAPABILITY OF CIGARETTES 2:42:48 PM CHAIR McGUIRE announced that the next order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 413, "An Act relating to the burning capability of cigarettes being sold, offered for sale, or possessed for sale; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee was the proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 413, Version 24-LS1495\F, Bannister, 4/5/06, which had been adopted as the work draft on 4/7/06; also included in members' packets was another proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 413, Version 24-LS1495\Y, Bannister, 4/10/06.] CHAIR McGUIRE recalled that the Department of Revenue (DOR) had expressed some concerns with Version F because it did not include all of the DOR's recommendations, and offered her understanding that the new proposed committee substitute (CS) in members' packets does incorporate all of those recommendations. 2:43:41 PM REPRESENTATIVE GARA made a motion to adopt the proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 413, Version 24-LS1495\Y, Bannister, 4/10/06, as the work draft. There being no objection, Version Y was before the committee. 2:44:03 PM MIKAYLA SAITO, Intern to Representative Reggie Joule, Alaska State Legislature, relayed on behalf of the sponsor, Representative Joule, that the legislative findings and intent section of Version Y updates the finding that nearly 3,000 injuries have resulted from fires caused by cigarettes, and that Version Y corrects some grammatical errors and closes some loopholes. Additionally, Version Y provides the DOR with the ability to seize cigarettes that are not in compliance with this proposed law. Page 6 now includes language specifying that the markings approved for Alaska must be the same markings as those used in and approved for the state of New York; this requirement could smooth the way for the introduction of national legislation, since states would already be using the same markings. MS. SAITO offered her understanding that Version Y also contains language encouraging the concept that this issue should be viewed as a national issue, and that the DOR has been provided with the authority to promulgate or amend regulations regarding seizure. CHAIR McGUIRE noted that Ms. Saito is referencing the memorandum dated 4/10/06 from Representative Joule. REPRESENTATIVE GARA offered his understanding that the substantial changes incorporated in Version Y expand the DOR's authority so that it can enforce this new proposed law. MS. SAITO concurred. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT referred to page 1, line 14, and noted that the language appears to include Canada as a state; furthermore, there is no other reference to Canada in the remainder of the findings and intent language section. 2:47:54 PM REPRESENTATIVE KOTT made a motion to adopt Amendment 1, to delete the reference to Canada from page 1, line 14. There being no objection, Amendment 1 adopted. REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON said he appreciates the spirit of the legislation, but noted that the tobacco industry has expressed to him the concern that having to manufacture different types of cigarettes for different states will be very expensive. He remarked, however, that as a matter of public policy, the fire- safety concerns addressed via HB 413 outweigh the tobacco industry's concern regarding cost. MS. SAITO, in response to a question, offered her understanding that manufacturers will produce the same type of cigarettes for Alaska that are being produced for New York, and that the tobacco industry has told officials at the national level that it is amenable to the type of change proposed by HB 413 in that it wants to get similar national legislation passed. However, the sponsor, she relayed, feels it is important to start the process at the state level instead of waiting for national legislation. She again offered her understanding that the type of cigarettes that HB 413 requires for Alaska are already being manufactured for other states. REPRESENTATIVE GARA indicated that that information alleviates his one concern. CHAIR McGUIRE suggested that this requirement could serve as a model for the federal government or other states. REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked whether there will be a restriction on the number of packs of cigarettes a person can buy over the Internet. 2:53:06 PM REPRESENTATIVE REGGIE JOULE, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor, offered his understanding that if the purchase of cigarettes over the Internet is for private consumption, it would be difficult to enforce what type of cigarettes are bought. However, aspects of the bill do attempt to address situations in which Internet purchases are made for the purpose of resale. He suggested that as the concept embodied in HB 413 catches on nationally, Internet sales will become less of an issue. CHAIR McGUIRE asked whether manufactures will charge more money for cigarettes with a reduced ignition capacity. REPRESENTATIVE JOULE said no. CHAIR McGUIRE surmised, then, that one wouldn't be able to save money by purchasing non-compliant cigarettes over the Internet. REPRESENTATIVE JOULE, in response to questions, said that fire- safe cigarettes won't taste any different that non-compliant cigarettes. No extra chemicals would be used; instead, there will be thicker bands of paper at regular intervals along the cigarette and it will be packed a little differently, and these changes are what will help the cigarette extinguish itself if it is not actively being smoked. REPRESENTATIVE GARA noted that language beginning on page 2, line 19, makes it illegal for someone to sell, offer to sell, or possess for sale cigarettes in Alaska that don't meet the requirements proposed via HB 413. REPRESENTATIVE JOULE, in response to a question, indicated that the bill provides for a transition period during which retailers can sell any non-compliant cigarettes that they have bought prior to the enactment of HB 413. He noted that the other states that have enacted similar legislation have experienced smooth transitions. 2:56:26 PM REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON remarked on the issue of non-compliant cigarettes being brought into Alaska by tourists. REPRESENTATIVE GARA pointed out that the bill only criminalizes those who bring non-compliant cigarettes into the state with the intent to sell them. REPRESENTATIVE WILSON remarked on the fact that Alaska is number one in the nation with regard to alcohol-related problems, and on the tendency of some people to smoke when they've been drinking; she characterized HB 413 as a wonderful bill. REPRESENTATIVE JOULE concurred, and mentioned that when he was a smoker he would sometimes smoke in bed. CHAIR McGUIRE acknowledged that [the bill addresses] a safety issue. 3:01:11 PM REPRESENTATIVE WILSON moved to report the proposed CS for HB 413, Version 24-LS1495\Y, Bannister, 4/10/06, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes. There being no objection, CSHB 413(JUD) was reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.