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.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

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