Rarely do legislations of the present even mention the notion of protecting tobacco. House Bill 513 ( HB513) from Ohio is an exciting legislation in and of its right. The central portion of the bill focuses on tobacco taxation and debts. However, a part of HB513 will be relevant due to changing other tobacco laws.
WHAT DOES HB513 DO?
Most of the bill is about tax collection and how to handle the tax owed by tobacco companies that haven’t been paid. In the case of electronic cigarettes, Ohio has a huge tax. Every bottle of e-juice is taxed at a rate of 10 cents per milliliter. This tax can add up quickly and can result in massive tax liabilities. This bill could help in dealing with tax debts.
Although taxes are the central issue of the bill, an insignificant portion has received more attention. The section of HB513 that has drawn attention is found in lines 22 to 27.
“No political subdivision may enact, adopt, renew, maintain, enforce, or continue in existence any charter provision, ordinance, resolution, rule, or other measure that conflicts with or preempts any policy of the state regarding the regulation of tobacco products or alternative nicotine products.”
The language in that section alone screams that HB513 was drafted to protect the sales of tobacco products. If you look at the whole bill, HB513 seems to have been designed with a different purpose. The bill could have been an opportunity to clarify tobacco regulations and offer more guidelines on managing state taxes. However, most discussion about the statement revolves around the clause’s consequences.
WHAT WOULD BE THE EFFECTS OF THIS BILL?
The bill prohibits laws preemptive to state tobacco laws or laws passed before tobacco laws in the state due to their stricter requirements. This is the reason why some call HB513 an act of preemption.
A few Ohio cities have stricter ordinances than the state’s laws. Columbus is a city that recently enacted an ordinance prohibiting all flavor tobacco products. The city’s ban will begin in January 2024. Toledo is another city located in Ohio that has a prohibition on cartridges with flavored flavors.
If HB513 were passed, both bans would conflict with the legislation. State law would be able to prevail over the city’s rules, and HB513 would end both prohibitions. The HB513 law would also apply to subsequent efforts to control tobacco products. That means that any new regulations for Ohio cities may be less strict than state laws. But, first, HB513 must be passed through the legislative process before becoming law.
WHAT HAPPENS TO HB513 NEXT?
As of now, HB513 has passed both the Ohio House and Senate. The bill now goes to the Governor of Ohio, Governor DeWine. He has the option of approving, vetoing, or vetoing the bill.
If Governor DeWine accepts HB513 or ignores the bill within ten days, the bill becomes law. If DeWine opposes the legislation, the Ohio Senate and House lawmakers may seek to overcome his veto. To override his veto, Ohio’s Ohio State government will require a 3/5ths majority to override his veto in both houses. A 3/5ths majority vote for any issue isn’t easy. Although a majority in the Ohio Senate supports the bill, the Ohio House is much closer.
The anti-vaping and pro-vaping advocates have started to study the bill. Many anti-vape advocates would like to have DeWine oppose HB513. Advocates for vaping want HB513 to be passed. But Governor DeWine has said he may veto the bill. For most people, there’s not much to do other than wait to see what he decides.
HB513 was mailed to the Governor’s desk on December 16, 2022. DeWine is given ten days, or until December 26, 2022, to reply to the bill. The interest HB513 has received will likely be passed or rejected before the deadline.