In 2017 the premium tobacco industry encountered many legislative and regulatory challenges at the state and local levels. The International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) was at the forefront of each these battles with our industry partners, representing the interests of retail tobacconists and the premium tobacco industry. Some of our notable achievements include:
State Legislation – IPCPR monitored nearly 600 individual state bills, including smoking bans, tax increases, and licensing schemes. Less than one percent of bills that were potentially harmful to IPCPR members were enacted despite unyielding effort from the opposition. Thank you to our state associations, industry partners, and those who contacted elected officials regarding pending legislation.
Proactive Measures – In collaboration with the state associations in Ohio and Minnesota, IPCPR successfully passed $.50 tax caps on cigars in both states during their budget processes. After several years of work in Minnesota and a contentious session, language to reduce the tax cap from $3.50 to $.50 was included in the final budget and signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton. In Ohio, the Budget Proposal by Governor Kasich called for increasing tobacco taxes with a $2 tax cap on cigars. No tax increases were included in the final budget and the proposed $2 cap on cigars was reduced to $.50.
Chicago Lawsuit – IPCPR and five industry allies filed a lawsuit against the City of Chicago regarding a tobacco tax in violation of Illinois’s home rule statute. In January 2017, the Circuit Court of Cook County reached a decision. By a plain reading and examination of the statute, the City’s home rule authority to tax OTP is preempted by Illinois state law and the adoption of such a tax was declared illegal. At this time the City has appealed the ruling and we are fighting the appeal.
Regional Model – IPCPR continued implementation of a new regional state lobbying model. The plan brings state lobbying activities in house, eliminating the need for contract lobbyists in most states. Modeled after the government affairs departments of some of the country’s most influential trade associations, IPCPR believes the new model will cut costs, expand influence, and allow state associations to focus on advocacy rather than fundraising. Lobbyists have been hired to cover the following territories so far:
- Southeast: Rachel Hyde – Rachel@ipcpr.org
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South, Mississippi, Florida
- Midwest: Brett Mecum – Brett@ipcpr.org
Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota
- West: Tyler Henson – Tyler@ipcpr.org
Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico
Local Reporting – One of the greatest challenges facing the premium tobacco industry is the proliferation of local laws and regulations in nearly 40,000 local governments across the U.S. In 2017 IPCPR tracked issues in 1,521 localities through our local tracking system. IPCPR also began local reporting to our members in collaboration with the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO).
IPCPR’s state and local government affairs team looks forward to continuing our work on your behalf in 2018. Please contact Matt Dogali, Rachel Hyde, or your regional representative if you have any questions or concerns about your state. For all the latest news from the IPCPR, visit ipcpr.org.
– Contributed by Rachel Hyde, IPCPR Legislative Affairs (South)