Freedom to Roll in Jeopardy

Today’s Message: @LawmakerXYZ No sellouts! Strip it, forget it. STOP the #BigTobacco bailout in the highway bill

Good morning and Happy Friday, June 22, 2012, and unfortunately, we’re back in the danger zone. As reported in several news publications, comments made yesterday by House and Senate negotiators, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), indicate there might be progress on getting the big burrito 2012 highway bill in front of lawmakers and approved. With those two lawmakers at the helm of drafting a final bill, I have LOW confidence we won’t be sold down the river. Why so little confidence? Because neither of these two have been vocal AT ALL about where they stand on the Big Tobacco bailout. Sen. Boxer doesn’t exactly have a stellar record of opposing Federal taxes and regulations or standing up for small business, and Rep. Mica is an old school member of Congress, ready to trade his horse, grandmother and best marbles if he can score a deal benefiting his own interests.

Congress will sell us out if they think they can get away with it.

WHAT CAN WE DO: If there’s a bill to come from this “progress” it must still get approval from the House/Senate conference committee of 47, AND then get approval from both the full House and the Senate. Our aim remains to expose the Big Tobacco bailout and get it stripped from the bill. First things first so let’s stay in front of the conferees. Who’s to say the bill written by Mica/Boxer is worth anything more than the paper it’s spilled on? The conference committee will have an opportunity to dissect the agreement and debate and vote on its provisions. STAY TUNED because in these last days and hours before June 30, anything can happen and it can happen quickly.

WHAT IS THE BIG TOBACCO BAILOUT: It’s an anti-competitive, anti-free enterprise provision slipped into what became the Senate-approved highway bill. The language essentially reclassifies small tobacco retail shops as “manufacturers” if they provide customers the ability to roll their own smokes. If that reclassification occurs, “retailers” magically turned into “manufacturers” will suffer huge new taxes and regulations and will likely close shop. The Congressional Budget Office is convinced the provision will result in the closure of more than 1,000 small tobacco shops nationwide. But, Sen. Max Baucus’s staff conned some Democrats and Republicans to introduce the eight line provision as part of a larger amendment to the highway bill and poof! There was a vote and now we’re working to strip it out. A number of House lawmakers led by Rep. Steve LaTourette object to the Big Tobacco bailout. Rep. LaTourette sent word to all of his colleagues asking them to get rid of the bailout language, so we’re cautiously optimistic he’s shed a good deal of light on our cause.

WHERE AM I MOST EFFECTIVE:  Warrior, you are effective when your voice is heard. Pick up your megaphone and get on the Twitter and Facebook and speak your mind. We have made a great deal of progress educating lawmakers, and now is the time to get louder. I’ve included some of the usual suspects below AND added some of the senators, just so they know they’ll pay a penalty for trading our freedom to roll.

EFFECT CHANGE: From the start, we have been all about changing the behavior of those members in Congress who would sell us out for chump change from Big Tobacco. Let your local lawmakers (and a few others) know we are in the danger zone and we require their commitment to help. Ask @RepJustinAmash why he won’t tell us his position on HR4134, ask @DocHastings where he stands on the #BigTobacco bailout, ask @MarshaBlackburn if the botox has worn off and whether she’s ready to strip it and forget it. Ask, ask, ask because we must engage, engage, engage.

YOU ARE THE BEST: You are. Go nuclear on the clowns opposing us. Be good to our supporters. Question those who’ve not weighed in. Recruit a friend. See you online.

– GR

Transportation Committee Republicans / Leadership Members


Senate Democrat conferees (and their Twitter handles):

  • Barbara Boxer (CA) @SenatorBoxer
  • Max Baucus (MT) (Not on Twitter)
  • Jay Rockefeller (WV) @SenRockefeller
  • Tim Johnson (SD) @SenJohnsonSD
  • Chuck Schumer (NY) @ChuckSchumer
  • Bill Nelson (FL) @SenBillNelson
  • Bob Menendez (NJ) @SenatorMenendez
  • Dick Durbin (IL) @SenatorDurbin

Senate Republican conferees (and their Twitter handles):

  • James Inhofe (OK) @JimInhofe
  • David Vitter (LA) @DavidVitter
  • Richard Shelby (AL) @SenShelbyPress
  • Orrin Hatch (UT) @OrrinHatch
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX) @KayBaileyHutch
  • John Hoeven (ND) @SenJohnHoeven
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One thought on “Freedom to Roll in Jeopardy

  1. Deanna Rhinehart says:

    Here we go again…….a small business invests thousands of dollars to add cigarette rolling machines in their little variety stores to help “US”, the smokers save a lot of money by rolling our own. Yes…the “non-smokers” hate us because we are still smoking after many of our rights have already been taken away regarding smoking in public places, increasing taxes over and over again that it cost 8.50 per pack for most brands. Lets not forget that it is the Tobacco Company’s, like RJ Reynolds, who knowingly added addictive ingredients, and cancer causing agents to all cigarettes many years ago to keep us buying them and addicted, keeping them RICH! Now, using these machines in variety stores to roll our own, using pipe tobacco, with so much less the added addictive ingred., and saving us 1/2 the price for a carton of cig. than theirs, they have to stick their noses in this too, and pass yet another bill to do away with these machines, therefore hoping we all go back smoking their brands and continuing to keep them millionaires! Not me!!! If this bill goes thru I will switch to the other alternative of “electric cigarettes”. I feel so much better these past 4 wks. since quitting my brand of Newport Lights to the rolled cigarettes. PLEASE…if this bill is passed DO NOT return to The Big Tobacco Brand cigarettes!! If we all make an effort to stop this law, it may work, and give us back our right to smoke rolled cigarettes, and keep these small business owners back in business to continue to help us save money! Remind these POLITICIANS, that we WILL vote them out on election day!! Pass the word, LET’S FINALLY DO SOMETHING TO BE HEARD, AND HOLD ONTO “OUR RIGHT TO SMOKE”!! Dee

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