Update 3/22/21 – The Montana Senate held the first hearing on HB 285.The bill sponsor Senator Jeremy Trebas noted that there are a few amendments coming forward including the need to include a requirement for walk in humidors and an inclusion for private clubs.
Opponents, as expected, concentrated objections on the risks to health and children. While there were more opponents than proponents, the opponents testified on subjects unrelated to the change or quoted as “facts” common misinformation.
The committee voted to “table” the bill, which means that it is likely dead and will not get out of committee for a vote.
We will try again in two years with several representatives and Senators lined up for support.
Link to record hearing: Begins at 9:31:37 http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00309/Harmony/en/PowerBrowser/PowerBrowserV2/20210319/-1/40710
Update 3/17/21 – HB 285 passes the House and moves to the Senate: HB 285 passed through the House floor vote by a margin of 55 to 43. The bill was transmitted to the Senate where it has its first hearing in the Judiciary Committee on March 19th. We are working to have the bill amended to include private cigar clubs such as Fools’ End, Summit Cigar Lounge, and the Bozeman Cigar club.
The club is working to have language included in this bill that would specifically recognize an exemption for private clubs. It is the opinion of several knowledgeable people involved with the legislature that this bill is unlikely to pass both houses without significant change. See this PDF for proposed legislation.