Indiana Senate leader commits to fixing vaping law

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The Republican leader of the Indiana Senate said Tuesday that fixing the state's controversial vaping law is a top priority in the next legislative session.

Lawmakers earlier this year and in 2015 passed new rules that had the effect of dramatically reducing the number of players in Indiana’s vaping and e-cigarette industry and creating a monopoly for a Lafayette security firm.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said the Senate will “aggressively try to fix that” once the Legislature convenes in January.

“We’re going to make sure that there’s not a monopoly in that area,” Long said. “And to the extent there is, we’re going to eliminate that. It’s important for us to get it right.”

Lawmakers said the security firm rules they passed were intended to protect manufactured products—e-liquids for use in electronic cigarettes—from tampering.

In practice, the rules gave a single security company—Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s—the ability to choose which firms could operate in Indiana. And the law change was championed by a Lafayette lawmaker, Sen. Ron Alting.

IBJ reported in August that the FBI was probing for possible corruption in the vaping law. And the law has also been the subject of multiple lawsuits.

Long said the monopoly for Mulhaupt’s was “inadvertent.”

“We’re going to change that, and hopefully open the door to a fair and open market,” Long said. “That’s what we want to see.”

Long said Sen. Randy Head of Logansport would carry the bill in 2017. Head voted against the 2015 and 2016 iterations of vaping bills in the Senate on their final passage.

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