The Indiana General Assembly — on the last day of the session — put its final stamp of approval on a proposal to overhaul the rules for Indiana’s vaping industry after two years of controversial actions.
The Indiana Senate voted 45-5 Friday afternoon on the measure. And the Indiana House voted 83-14 to approve the bill, which sought to eliminate an industry-choking monopoly that resulted from previous Legislation.
Rules put in place in 2015 and 2016 essentially gave one security company — Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s — sole authority to decide who could manufacture vaping liquids for sale in Indiana. As a result, several producers were shut out of the market.
The FBI investigated the passage of the 2016 bill but has not commented on the result of that investigation.
Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, said this year's legislation will “increase competition and open up the market” and “undo bad and overburdensome regulations” put into place the previous two years.
“The Indiana General Assembly’s first attempt at regulating this new industry went too far,” Head said. “Issuing permits is a function of state government, and the state ought to do it, rather than having a single private company dole out permits.”
The controversial regulation has to do with the manufacturing of e-liquid, the juice used in some electronic cigarettes.
Head’s bill removes all of the previous controversial security firm provisions — and opens back up the market for more businesses to get permits from the state.
It also requires e-liquid manufacturers to comply with federal laws. The liquids are also required to include childproof caps, traceable identification codes, and retailers are restricted from selling to consumers under 18 years old.
The 2016 law was the subject of several court cases. Head said the bill will comply with a January court decision that essentially ruled parts of the law violated the dormant commerce clause of the constitution.
In the Senate, Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, joined four other Democrats in voting against the bill.
Taylor said he was worried that “we’re just going to have a free for all now.” He said he was glad the bill got rid of the controversial security firm language but believed federal rules were not adequate.