Tobacco Company Files Lawsuit
Against Illegal Cigarette "Fee"
SB 845 was one of the many illegally passed bills that raised revenue, AKA taxes, without a supermajority of the legislature and without a vote of the people and also passed in the last five days of the session. Not only that, the bill originated in the Senate and all revenue bills MUST originate as House bills. The House controls the purse strings so that alone is enough to stop the bill in court.
The $1.50 "fee" was earlier rejected as a tax in the House so the Senate picked up the same bill and passed it and sent it to the House after re labeling it as a "fee" which legally has been held to be a re couping of costs for a government function. A wide load permit fee is one example, or a fee for staying overnight in a state campground or park.
Philipp Morris and RJ Reynolds tobacco companies weren't having any part of the illegally passed bill so they filed suit stating the obvious; the bill violated the state constitutional prohibition against passing revenue-raising measures in the final five days of a legislative session and without a super majority of lawmakers. The legislation was passed with the emergency clause so the bill goes into law in August and is expected to pump about 20 million per month into state coffers with most of the revenue going into the newly created Health Care Enhancement Fund which is supposed to be used to reduce cigarette use and reduce health care costs.