Illinois Senate Overrides Governor’s Veto on Tobacco 21 Bill

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The battle to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in Illinois isn’t over just quite yet, as the Illinois Senate has voted to override a veto by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The override just barely cleared the Senate, passing by  a 36-19 vote on Wednesday, and now it heads to the state’s House of Representatives, where it faces a much tougher challenge. The original bill passed in the closing days of the session with a 61-49 vote, and with an override of a veto requiring passage by a three-fifths vote in both houses, at least ten representatives would need to change their votes, something that seems unlikely given the last-minute heroics to recruit votes for the bill’s initial passage. In fact, support seemed to be lacking enough that the bill had been considered dead just days before it was passed.

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Illinois was on track to become the seventh state to enact a statewide tobacco purchasing age of 21-years-old, joining CaliforniaHawaiiMaine, New JerseyOregon and Massachusetts, though that state’s is a progressive increase that will be rolled out over the next two years.

In addition to raising the minimum age, the bill sought to eliminate the penalty for possession of a cigar, cigarette, smokeless tobacco, or tobacco in any of its forms by persons under 18 years of age. An amendment added by the Senate makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a person who is under 21 years of age to use a false or forged identification to obtain tobacco products.

Featured image by Meagan Davis [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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