Under-21 Tobacco Ban Fails to Become Law in Illinois

Illinois lawmakers failed Wednesday to reverse Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a bill that banned the sale of tobacco to those younger than 21.

The House voted 62-45 to overturn the "Tobacco 21" veto, but it needed a three-fifths majority of 71 votes to become law. The legislation would have set a minimum age of 21 to buy cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and nicotine-based products such as e-cigarettes and vaping materials.

Rep. Camille Lilly, who sponsored the proposal, said it would "help prevent young people from beginning a lifetime tobacco addiction."

"Tobacco 21 protects children, reduces smoking rates, saves billions in health care costs and saves lives," the Chicago Democrat said.

But opponents argued that 18-year-olds may vote and serve in the military, so they should be able to decide whether to smoke. Critics also took aim at the lack of penalties in the bill.

The American Lung Association figures show 95 percent of long-term smokers begin the habit before turning 21.

The House did succeed in overriding a veto of legislation that sets a 90-day deadline for local police officials to take action on paperwork for immigrant crime victims to apply for visas to stay in the country.

Rauner had said the measure was too burdensome on local agencies. The House voted 73-34 to reject the Republican governor's veto, putting the law in place.

Federal law allows immigrants who are victims of serious crimes to apply for visas. They must cooperate with police investigations, and police must sign paperwork verifying their help.

A veto override vote on a measure that proposed regulations for online car rental programs is on hold.

House Deputy Majority Leader Arthur Turner of Chicago skipped the vote on Rauner's veto of legislation on so-called peer-to-peer car rental apps. It would subject the rental cars to safety rules and tax collection required for rental car companies.

Turner, who sponsored the measure, hopes he can negotiate a deal and present new legislation in January. Critics said the programs allow people to make extra cash by renting their cars and shouldn't be required to follow the same rules as companies with large fleets.

Greg Scott of the American Car Rental Association said in a statement that he welcomes discussions "to ensure greater consistency, fairness and safety" in the industry.

Thursday is the last day of the Legislature's fall session.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us