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School Tobacco and Alcohol Restriction Act

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IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

Mr. Alexander, for himself and Mrs. O’Dwyer introduced the following bill;

 

A BILL

 

To prohibit the operation of tobacco and alcohol stores and to regulate the times of tobacco and alcohol sale near schools.

 

To be enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled.

 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

 

This act may be cited as the “School Tobacco and Alcohol Restriction Act.”

 

SECTION 2. DEFINITIONS

 

  1. The terms “Smoke Shops” and “Tobacco Stores” shall refer to any premises dedicated to the display, sale, distribution, delivery, offering, furnishing, or marketing of tobacco, tobacco products, or tobacco paraphernalia provided, however, that any grocery store, supermarket, convenience store or similar retail use that only sells conventional cigars, cigarettes or tobacco as an ancillary sale shall not be defined as a “smoke shop” or “tobacco store”

  2. The term “E-cigarette” shall mean any electronically actuated device or inhaler meant to simulate cigarette smoking that uses a heating element to vaporize a liquid solution, popularly referred to as “juice,” and that causes the user to exhale any smoke, vapor, or substance other than that produced by unenhanced human exhalation. The juice used in e-cigarettes typically contains nicotine, and for this reason e-cigarettes and their juice can be classified as both tobacco products and tobacco paraphernalia.

  3. The term “Tobacco” shall mean any preparation of the nicotine-rich leaves of the tobacco plant, which are cured by a process of drying and fermentation for use in smoking, chewing, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling, snorting, sniffing, or ingesting by any other means into the body.

  4. The term “Tobacco paraphernalia” shall mean any paraphernalia, equipment, device, or instrument that is primarily designed or manufactured for the smoking, chewing, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling, snorting, sniffing, or ingesting by any other means into the body of tobacco, tobacco products. Items or devices classified as tobacco paraphernalia include but are not limited to the following: pipes, punctured metal bowls, bongs, water bongs, electric pipes, e-cigarettes, e-cigarette juice, buzz bombs, vaporizers, hookahs, and devices for holding burning material. Lighters and matches shall be excluded from the definition of tobacco paraphernalia.

  5. The term “Tobacco product” shall mean any product in leaf, flake, plug, liquid, or any other form, containing nicotine derived from the tobacco plant, or otherwise derived, which is intended to enable human consumption of the tobacco or nicotine in the product, whether smoked, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means. For the purposes of this chapter, the term “tobacco product” excludes any product that has been specifically approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale as a tobacco/smoking cessation product or for other medical purposes, where such product is marketed and sold solely for such an approved purpose.

  6. The term highway shall refer to any roadway where the speed limit exceeds 45 miles per hour.

  7. The term “alcohol” shall refer to any beverages containing alcohol including but not limited to, rum, whiskey, beer, vodka, and bourbon.

 

SECTION 3. RESTRICTION OF SMOKE AND ALCOHOL SHOPS NEAR SCHOOLS

 

  1. No smoke shops or tobacco stores shall not exist, operate, or be constructed within 300 feet of any education facility, public or private school, hospital, or place of worship.

  2. Any premises dedicated to the display, sale, distribution, delivery, offering, furnishing, or marketing of alcohol, alcohol products, alcohol paraphernalia, or alcoholic beverages shall not exist, operate, or be constructed within 300 feet of any education facility, public or private school, hospital, highway, or place of worship.

 

SECTION 4. REGULATION OF TIMES OF TOBACCO SALES

 

  1. All grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or similar retail markets operation within 300 feet of any education facility or public or private school shall adhere to the following regulations.

    1. The sale of tobacco, tobacco products, and alcohol shall be prohibited between the times of 5:00am and 9:30 am as well as between the times of 2:30pm and 5:00pm.

    2. This regulation shall not apply on Saturdays or Sundays.

  2. All grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, or similar retail markets operation within 300 feet of any place of worship shall adhere to the following regulations.

    1. The sale of tobacco, tobacco products, and alcohol shall be prohibited between the times of 6:00am and 12:00 pm.

    2. This regulation shall apply every day.

 

SECTION 5. EFFECTIVE DATE

 

  1. This bill shall go into effect 60 days following its constitutional passage.

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Mr. Speaker,

I think this is well meaning legislation that might make sense as a local ordinance or possibly even a state law. But on the federal level, it's simply too much overreach. These are decisions that should be made by state and local governments. This isn't the role of the federal government. 

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

I see no problem with the government stepping in on this. If these state or local governments havn’t passed laws and ordinances like this that protect our children then what makes the gentleman from Texas think they will in the future? This law is common sense. It was written with a republican congresswoman. There is no reason we shouldn’t pass it.

I yield 

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Mr. Speaker,

I refer the gentleman to McCulloch vs Maryland, in which the Supreme Court unanimously determined that,

“A criterion of what is constitutional, and of what is not so... is the end, to which the measure relates as a mean. If the end be clearly comprehended within any of the specified powers, and if the measure have an obvious relation to that end, and is not forbidden by any particular provision of the Constitution, it may safely be deemed to come within the compass of the national authority. There is also this further criterion which may materially assist the decision: Does the proposed measure abridge a pre-existing right of any State, or of any individual? If it does not, there is a strong presumption in favour if it’s constitutionality.” 

In plain English, if it is not forbidden by the constitution then it comes within the scope of congressional authority. Another quote from this case is

”But we think the sound construction of the Constitution must allow to the national legislature that discretion with respect to the means by which the powers it confers are to be carried into execution which will enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it in the manner most beneficial to the people. Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited, but consistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, are constitutional.” 

This legislation clearly is beneficial to the people and is why we should pass it.

I yield 

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Mr Speaker,

I can see the good that this piece of legislation intends and that is why I urge our local governments to enact legislation regarding it. The Congress should not be telling a shop keep in Houston when he can or can't sell his products, this is overreach plain and simple. 

I yield.

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Mr. Speaker,

So what if it’s overreach? Our kids health is more important then some petty politics. This is common sense legislation. We must help our kids. The gop keeps talking about “oh the overreach wahhh wahhh.” Well, what about the children? They matter more then anything.

I yield 

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Mr. Speaker,

I would like to remind the gentleman from Texas that in matters of public safety, the federal government very often makes regulations on business.

I yield

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Mr Speaker,

I think there is a very stark and kindred difference between say a gang and tobacco products. Sure, we can regulate organized crime on a federal level for matters of public safety but surely we shouldn't be stepping on what shop people can and can't sell. 

The Gentleman from Colorado talks about our children, and he does it very valiantly and I commend him for that. Let's say this bill was signed into law, where is the enforcement mechanism? Who is to enforce this legislation? I fear we might pass something, which could be signed into law, that has no sense of direction and is simply more sentences and words added to the United States Code.

I therefore move to amend by adding the following section and renumber accordingly:
 

Quote

 

Section X. Enforcement

(a) The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this legislation

 

I yield..

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Mr. Speaker,

The gentleman makes a valid point of enforcement. Therefore I’ll second his ammendment. I hope with this ammendment the gentleman will change his mind on how he will vote.

I yield

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Mr. Speaker, 

I would like to ask the Gentleman from Idaho to engage me in a debate as to why this bill should, or in his mind shouldn't be passed. That is what the American people are paying each of us $174,000 a year for, not laughing, saying "really" and walking away. Take after your party member, the gentleman from Texas, who actually knows how to hold a respectful debate, and voice your opinion.

I yield.

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6 hours ago, Conrad said:

Mr Speaker,

I think there is a very stark and kindred difference between say a gang and tobacco products. Sure, we can regulate organized crime on a federal level for matters of public safety but surely we shouldn't be stepping on what shop people can and can't sell. 

The Gentleman from Colorado talks about our children, and he does it very valiantly and I commend him for that. Let's say this bill was signed into law, where is the enforcement mechanism? Who is to enforce this legislation? I fear we might pass something, which could be signed into law, that has no sense of direction and is simply more sentences and words added to the United States Code.

I therefore move to amend by adding the following section and renumber accordingly:
 

I yield..

OOC: good amendment, good eye. Props sir

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