01 Jan IPCPR Year in Review
Dear IPCPR Member:
In 2014, the premium tobacco industry faced many legislative and regulatory challenges. IPCPR was at the forefront of each these battles on the Federal and State levels representing your interests as a retail tobacconist. Some of our notable achievements include:
FDA Regulation – As a result of years of advocacy with the White House and Food & Drug Administration, IPCPR was the only organization named in the deeming rule to regulate cigars and pipe tobacco under the Tobacco Control Act. We worked diligently to craft thoughtful comments on behalf of the industry, while encouraging retailers, associate members, and consumers to submit comments on their own. The result was an astounding 82,122 comments which are currently being reviewed by the agency.
State Legislation – In 2014, IPCPR monitored over 500 individual state bills that could have impacted your small business. The majority of these proposals were smoking bans and tax increases. Less than 1 percent of bills that were potentially harmful to your small business were enacted despite unyielding effort from the opposition. Our active retail and associate members proved essential to this effort. Thank you to everyone who took the time to testify or contact state representatives regarding pending legislation.
H.R. 792 / S. 772 – Through education and outreach with Congressional Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill, the legislation to define and exempt premium cigars from FDA regulation garnered 168 and 17 co-sponsors during the 113th Congress, respectively. Engagement from our retail and associate members proved essential to this effort, and will be crucial in 2015 as we move into the 114th Congress.
State Associations – For several years, IPCPR has collaborated with retailers in states across the country to establish state associations. IPCPR concluded 2014 with a total of 26 partner state associations. Thank you to all IPCPR members who have devoted time and resources to make this possible. A strong network of active retailers with representation in each state capitol is critical to implement our legislative agenda and fight harmful proposals. In 2015, IPCPR will continue to work with our members to establish new state associations and strengthen existing state associations.
Operation Choke Point – In 2014, IPCPR learned about a government program aimed at shutting off the financial and banking services of tobacco stores, simply because it is a business the Administration considers “high risk.” A number of our retailers have received letters from their banks shutting down lines of credit and bank access. Through work with Congressional investigators in the House and Senate, we have continued to raise awareness about this issue and are working with Congress on legislation to be sure IPCPR members are not unfairly targeted in the future.
Political Action Committee – The IPCPR-PAC had a record-breaking 113th Congress, raising over $85,500 in two years. This represents an increase of $41,000 over the previous Congress! Through involvement with IPCPR-PAC, our legislative and political influence in Washington, D.C. continues to grow. A strong political action committee helps our team on the ground host fundraising events and attend receptions with Members of Congress. We appreciate your continued support – together, we can make a difference!
Legislative and Political Events – In 2014, IPCPR set a record for the number of cigar receptions we hosted and co-hosted with influential 3rd party groups on behalf of elected officials and political candidates. In Washington, D.C., state capitals, and legislative conferences across the country, IPCPR organized nearly 100 cigar receptions. Cigar receptions provide a unique opportunity to raise awareness about issues of importance to the industry. Partnering with influential groups to educate elected officials is critical to protecting the future of our unique industry.
Grassroots Mobilization – In 2014, IPCPR implemented an online advocacy platform to streamline communication between our members and their elected officials regarding target legislation. This program gives IPCPR members and cigar enthusiasts a user-friendly tool to make their voices heard in Washington, D.C. and state capitals across the country. This program was particularly effective in Washington, D.C. and Alabama when it became necessary to quickly mobilize retailers and their customers to defeat harmful legislation.
We look forward to continuing our work on your behalf in 2015. As always, do not hesitate to contact the members of the IPCPR legislative team if you have any questions or concerns.
Senior Director of State Legislative Affairs
Senior Director of Federal Legislative Affairs
Legislative Affairs Manager