House Republicans pan Whitmer’s flavored vape ban

    Image by tomkohhantsuk from Pixabay

    Republicans in the state Senate may be generally supportive of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed ban on flavored vaping products, but their counterparts in the lower chamber appear to feel differently. 

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Fiscal Year 2020 budget presentation | Casey Hull

    Whitmer on Wednesday positioned Michigan to be the first state to declare a public health emergency as teenage vaping use has spiked. Whitmer is calling for an outright ban on flavored products that she says appeals to youth. A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said the lawmaker shares Whitmer’s concerns.

    House Republicans, however, have slowly started to speak out against Whitmer’s plan, which could take effect in the coming weeks. They note that Whitmer signed legislation in June — albeit reluctantly because she felt the bills didn’t go far enough to curb vaping — that banned the sale of the products to minors. 

    Whitmer signs 1st vaping ban in nation, industry group calls it ‘illegal’

    Both state Rep. Matt Hall (R-Marshall) and a spokesperson for House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) have slammed the governor’s proposal, saying she’s eschewing the public, legislative process in favor of a decree. 

    Matt Hall

    “The governor’s decision to circumvent the democratic process by executive privilege evades any chance for legislative oversight, open hearings and public testimony on what she described as a growing health epidemic,” state Rep. Matt Hall said in a statement. “I strongly urge the governor to reconsider her approach and hold public hearings on these emergency administrative rules so that all communities across the state may have their voices rightfully heard.”

    Chatfield spokesman Gideon D’Assandro said the House leader feels similarly. 

    “The speaker is disappointed that once again the governor is writing policy without consulting the Legislature,” D’Assandro said. “The House and Senate both recently passed a bill that fixed the issue of advertising and selling to minors.”

    Meanwhile, state Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain), who frequently attacks Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, has taken to calling the governor “Emperor Whitmer” over the proposal. 

    Nick Manes
    Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.



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