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.
Illinois was on track to become the seventh state to enact a statewide tobacco purchasing age of 21-years-old, joining California, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon 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.