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Indiana vaping bill under review after court ruling

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Indiana lawmakers are putting a bill on hold after courts ruled part of current vaping law unconstitutional.

The latest version of Senate Bill 1 would remove the strict security restrictions that essentially created a monopoly. Only one security firm, Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s, could met the requirements. SB 1 also would get rid of a provision that barred new manufacturers from entering the industry after July 2016.

Lawmakers intended to hear the bill in committee Wednesday, but removed the bill from the agenda so attorneys could review it in light of the ruling.

“It’s not that it’s going anywhere. It’s still a priority, but we’re looking at it. Parts of the ruling we’d already dealt with in the bill,” Senate President Pro Tem David Long said.

The ruling from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found parts of the current vaping law unconstitutional. The decision in Legato Vapors LLC and Right to be Smoke-Free Coalition Inc. vs David Cook stated that Indiana’s highly specific restrictions on security, cleanliness and audit requirements inflicted on out-of-state manufacturers violated federal law.

When the law was written there were no federal regulations regarding vaping and e-liquids. Since then some regulations have been put into place and more will by 2018, according committee testimony from Tony Abboud, national legislator director of Vapor Technology Association.

Even with more federal regulations on the way, Long still wants Indiana to be involved with regulating the vaping business.

“It’s appropriate for Indiana to have its own rules and regulations for protection. The key of this thing is not to do it in a way that it’ll keep people out of the market and provides a monopoly for some people,” Long said.

Over the last couple years the legislators have learned more about the vaping industry and what it does, Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane said.

“I think at no point in time was it ever our intentions to run anybody out of business. We’ve got to do whatever is necessary to make sure those small operators can conduct their business, but in a safe manner,” Lanane said.

Fixing the law is a priority in the House as well. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he wants to find a balance between consumer protections and preventing monopolies.

Long emphasized lawmakers are making sure they are not overreaching and following what the ruling said they cannot do.

It is unclear when the bill will return to committee for further examination.

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