A bill designed to significantly reduce the restrictions on manufacturers who make e-liquids for vaping devices in Indiana had its first hearing in a Senate committee Wednesday. The bill is a response to highly-controversial regulations that went into effect last year.
Lawmakers in the Senate Judiciary Committee heard more than an hour of public testimony Wednesday about the legislation.
Every person spoke in favor of Sen. Randy Head’s (R-Logansport) proposal.
The current law gives seven producers control of the Indiana e-liquids market, shutting out dozens of other manufacturers. It also requires that one security firm certify the producers.
Sandy Brown owns Cool Breeze Vapor based in Evansville, with five retail stores and one manufacturing facility in Indiana. Brown says they had to close down and move to Kentucky because they were denied a permit.
“We are job creators, we’re business owners, we care about our community, our employees and our customers. So I would ask that you to please support this, please give me my business back and eliminate the monopoly that has been created here,” Brown says.
The bill would repeal nearly all of the regulations in current law.
The current regulations, which went into effect on July 1st, 2016, prompted a lawsuit from e-liquid manufacturers, although the law was upheld by both a local and federal judge.
It also sparked an FBI investigation into whether some lawmakers benefited financially from its passage.
And a policy expert called for expanding the state’s ethics law when two lawmakers who supported the bill later took jobs with the e-liquid manufacturers that benefited from the law.