The Cigar Association of Washington is back for a third time with a new bill that it hopes will have cigars being lit up inside cigar shops and bars.
House Bill 1296, filed on Jan. 16, is a revamped attempt at something the CAW has been after for several years. Two previous attempts have failed in committee, but changes in this current attempt will give it a new path to passage. In the previous attempt, House Bill 1750, the initial fee for cigar bars would be $19,000 for the first year and $7,000 for a renewal, For cigar lounges, the fees in the new bill would be $7,000 for the first year and $2,500 per renewal. The cap would be 100 cigar bars and 500 cigar shops in the state. Because the bill would have raised upwards of $1 million for the state, its first stop was the House Committee on Business & Financial Services, where it met a staunch anti-smoking group.
This new version puts the cap at 40 cigar bars and 75 cigar lounges, and moves away from the high fees, instead proposing that the liquor control board, which would oversee the licenses, “may charge a reasonable fee per special endorsement application under this section, as deemed necessary by the board, for the purpose of reimbursing the board for costs directly related to the board’s administration of special endorsements issued under this section.”
Revenues for the state from this new proposal are estimated to be closer to $11,000.
As has been written into previous proposals, cigarette smoking would not be allowed in any of these establishments.
The bill has already received a public hearing in the House Committee on Commerce & Gaming, which can be viewed here, and is currently scheduled for an executive session in that committee on Jan. 29. Should it be approved by the committee, it would likely head to the House Rules Committee.