Created: 03/26/2014 6:20 PM KAALtv.com
By: Justin Thompson-Gee
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Governor Dayton has now voiced his disagreement with his own health department on the regulation of electronic cigarettes. E-cigs were banned in five parts of Rochester last year. A similar discussion is taking place in Austin where the city is looking for a year long moratorium.
“Our moratorium is specifically treating e-cigarettes like tobacco products for the purposes of the clean indoor air act,” says Michael Jordal, Austin city council member.
A first vote on the moratorium passed by one, but a second simple majority vote is needed for the moratorium to take effect. In an interview on Tuesday, Governor Dayton said he is uncomfortable with legislative efforts to put e-cigarettes in the same category as conventional cigarettes when it comes to prohibition of use in public spaces.
So, what effect will the Governors statement have on Austin’s vote?
“I agree with Governor Dayton that right now we do not need to regulate them the same way,” says Jordal who voted against the moratorium.
“On this one I guess we’re going to differ…until we know what harmful, if any, substances are in [e-cigs] I’d just as soon put a moratorium until we can either learn more or make an ordinance,” says Steve King, city council member who voted for the moratorium.
The moratorium would also direct city staff to study issues presented by e-cigarettes. Regardless of Governor Dayton’s comments, the vote in Austin is expected to be close, “If it’s any indication how it’s been, I’m not confident. I think it’ll come down to probably one person’s vote,” says King.
Austin’s city council will vote on the moratorium April 7th. That vote could become a moot point if the state legislature passes regulations. That bill is currently in committee.