Tavern League Backs Bill Prohibiting Ban on Electronic Cigarettes

May 13, 2015

Tavern interests have thrown their support behind Republican legislative proposals that would prohibit communities from banning electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking products in public places, like bars and restaurants.

The measures, Assembly Bill 170 and Senate Bill 132, would allow exceptions for communities to ban e-cigarettes and vapor products in schools, child care centers, hospitals, and municipal buildings. It would also allow business owners to prohibit patrons from using vapor products on their premises.

The bills, sponsored by Republican Sen. Stephen Nass of Whitewater and Rep. Joel Kleefisch of Oconomowoc, are backed by the Tavern League of Wisconsin and opposed by some health care professionals, public health groups and local governments.

Nass accepted $3,900 in contributions between January 2011 and Oct. 20, 2014, from bars and restaurants, one of his largest special interest contributors. Those contributions included $1,500 from the Tavern League’s political action committee (PAC), one of his largest PAC contributions during the period.

Kleefisch accepted $3,000 in contributions between January 2011 and Oct. 20, 2014, from bars and restaurants, also one of his largest special interests contributors during the period. Among Kleefisch’s largest contributors were Mary Lynn Kane, owner of Lake Country Cigars in Oconomowoc, $350; Richard Bertrand, owner of Bertrand’s Point Comfort Place Restaurant in Oconomowoc, $300; and the Tavern League’s PAC, $250.