Eileen Fisher is a Johnson County resident and president of CAFE Iowa CAN, a network of tobacco control advocates whose presence is felt continuously among Iowa legislators.
She recently provided this report on tobacco control legislation during the 2015 session of the General Assembly.
Health and Human Services Budget—SF 505
The bill appropriates funds from the General Fund for the Departments of Aging, Human Services, Public Health, Veterans Affairs and the Iowa Veterans Home. This bill represents a decrease of $19.2 million compared to FY15. The final bill provides the following appropriations and policy provisions of interest to your organization:
- Level funding of $5,248,361 for the Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Division.
- Removal of the earmarks on the funding with the exception of the $453k for enforcement with ABD.
- New language was included which requires the department to determine if those seeking help with cessation services have third-party sources available before providing nicotine replacement products through the program.
Bills that Failed to Pass
Vaping Regulations—HF 306–Position: For
This bill would have redefined alternative nicotine and vapor products as tobacco products, thus making all provisions applicable to tobacco products also applicable to alternative nicotine products and vapor products, including the taxation of tobacco products.
Casino Licenses—SF 139–Position: Monitoring
This bill would have provided for the issuance of a license to conduct gambling games at a gambling structure in which smoking is prohibited. This bill required the racing and gambling commission to establish a process for granting licenses to conduct gambling games at a gambling structure that is subject to the smoking prohibition requirements of Code section 142D.3. Companion bills on this issue include SF24 and HF255.
Casino Smoking Ban—SF 36 –Position: For
This bill would have removed the exception under the Smokefree Air Act that allowed smoking on gaming floors; the bill makes the entirety of these premises subject to the smoking prohibitions of the Act. Companion bills on this issue include HF102 and HF336.
Tobacco Age—SSB 1109 – Monitoring
This legislation would have raised the legal age for use of tobacco, nicotine products and vapor products to 19. The title of the bill was The Keep Tobacco Out of Iowa High Schools Act.
Cigarette Permits & Reports—SSB 1195–Position: For
This bill would have related to the permit fees for distributors, subjobbers, and retailers of tobacco products. Under this bill the fee for permits for cigarette and tobacco product distributors, vendors, and wholesalers would have been raised to $500, up from the current $100.
Note bills that failed to pass in 2015 remain active for the 2016 legislative session. To learn more about CAFE Iowa CAN, click here.