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Legislative Column: By C.B. Embry, Jr.

Rep. C.B. Embry, Jr. (second from right), R-Morgantown, joined by Rep. Ron Crimm (first from right), R-Louisville, talk with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear shortly before the Governor delivered his budget address during the 2014 Regular Session.  Rep. Embry was one of a small group of House and Senate members selected to escort the Governor to House chambers for his address, which took place on Tuesday, January 21st. (Photo: LRC Public Information)

Proposal to Regulate Sales of E-Cigarettes Highlights Week Four of 2014 Regular Session- The fourth week of the 60-day legislative session is in the books, and while we await action on the budget bill several proposal were filed by House Republicans this past week for consideration.

One bill is House Bill 267, sponsored by Representative Brad Montell of Shelbyville.  His legislation proposed to ban the sale of so-called ‘e-cigarettes’ to anyone 18 and younger in Kentucky.  The legislation if passed would simply add e-cigarettes to current rules and regulations covering the sale of other tobacco products, which are already banned from sale to minors.  E-cigarettes are different than tobacco cigarettes in that they use water vapor, but some manufacturers include nicotine in the liquid mix for their product.
 
If House Bill 267 is approved, Kentucky would join 30 other states in regulating the sale of e-cigarettes.  Representative Montell says some of the makers of e-cigarettes have done self regulation when it comes to the sale of their product to teens, but his legislation would make that process more uniform in the Bluegrass State.

Also filed for consideration in this session is House Bill 243, which I am a co-sponsor.  House Bill 243 would increase a tax credit teachers receive for out of pocket purchases for their classrooms from $250 to $500 annually.  In researching his bill with the LRC, Rep. Linder found that many teachers were reaching the maximum $250 tax credit but were spending above that for classroom supplies.

Placement of Kentucky’s election calendar back on a four-year cycle is the purpose of House Bill 200, filed by Representative Kenny Imes of Murray.  Representative Imes filed the legislation following phone calls from local county clerks about the increases costs associated with running elections on the current five-year cycle.  According to data provided by the Kentucky Association of Counties and the LRC, House Bill 200 could save local counties more than $11 million and Kentucky a little more than $3 million if approved.

As for the Governor’s budget proposal, initial work began this past week with the first hearing on House Bill 235 in the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.  There is much work that will be done over the next several weeks in the House before the next version of the budget bill comes up for vote, which will more than likely come in March.

I welcome your comments and concerns on any issues impacting our Commonwealth during the 2014 Regular Session.  I can be reached through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181, or you can contact me via e-mail at cb.embry@lrc.ky.gov. You can keep track of committee meetings and potential legislation through the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov, and I also encourage you to follow the House Republican Caucus on Facebook and Twitter

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