So what is the catch here? As you can see by the sponsorship below, this is a mostly Republican bill. But it seems like a good idea. The bill is not evil. It is closing a loophole in the law about minors possessing tobacco that needs to be closed. Whenever a Republican proposes a good thing, I immediately suspect shenanigans.
House Bill 36 was been substituted. The original bill provided a simple punishment of a $50.00 and 25 hours of community service work for the first offense of either buying or possessing tobacco, and the second offense involving $50 and 50 hours of service. The substitute bill maintains the same penalties for purchasing tobacco as a minor, but if you are in mere possession of tobacco as a minor or if you consume it as a minor, the new punishment would be attending an educational course relating to the health issues and dangers associated with the consumption and use of tobacco products or tobacco substitutes for the first offense, and for a second violation be ordered to perform 25 hours of community service work, and for all subsequent violations be ordered to perform 50 hours of community service work.
SPONSORS: Ramone, Lawson, Wilson, Delcollo, Dukes, Hudson, Jaques, D.Short, Smith
HISTORY: The Bill was substituted on 3.9.17. See above for the changes to the legislation. Assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
STATUS: Awaiting a hearing in Committee.