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Conference committee compromises on e-cigarette regulations

Posted by: Abby Simons under Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators Updated: May 13, 2014 - 5:53 PM

A revamped bill to limit the use of e-cigarettes — commonly known as “vaping” — bans their use in several, but not all public indoor spaces as part of a compromise between the House and Senate.

A conference committee hashed out the details of the ban, which is part of the Health and Human Services Omnibus bill. Earlier versions passed by wide margins in both bodies. However, while a stricter Senate version placed e-cigarettes under the Clean Indoor Air Act, which bans their use in all public places, a House version narrowed the ban to state buildings and public schools.

The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Laurie Halverson, said that the Senate provision was removed in hopes of garnering enough votes to pass the bill. House leaders reiterated Tuesday that they lacked the support to pass the bill with the Senate language.

However, under a compromise by Sen. Melissa Wiklund, DFL-Bloomington, the language in the final version bans “vaping” in city and state government buildings, any buildings owned by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the University of Minnesota, and buildings licensed by the commissioner of human serves or the commissioner of health. The amendment would allow cities or individual business to adopt their own bans, more stringent if they prefer. The proposed compromise will likely be debated later this week as the 2014 legislative session draws to a close.
 

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