A legislative poll on a proposed agency rule banning flavored vaping products has been canceled after the Department of Public Health and Human Services formally withdrew the rulemaking proposal on Aug. 18.
The Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee was slated to carry out the poll after 20 legislators notified the committee in late July that they objected to the rule. State law requires a poll of the Legislature if 20 lawmakers object to a proposed rule.
Committee members met on Aug. 12 to review the polling process and take public comment. Rep. Eric Moore, presiding officer of the committee, then set an Aug. 17 date for mailing of the poll and a Sept. 8 postmark date for returning ballots. However, he delayed mailing of the poll on Aug. 14 after DPHHS notified the committee that it planned to withdraw the rule.
On Tuesday, Moore and Sen. Diane Sands, vice presiding officer, determined that the department's formal withdrawal of the rule made the poll moot. They noted the poll "would have no effect under 2-4-404, MCA, which provides that the results of a legislative poll are admissible in litigation involving the validity of a proposed rule or adopted rule."
As a result, they determined that the committee would not take further action and the poll would not be sent to legislators.
DPHHS proposed the rule on June 26, citing a state law that allows the agency to adopt rules regarding "the reporting and control of communicable diseases and other conditions of public health importance." The proposed rule said the ban was needed because youth vaping "presents a condition of public health importance in Montana because it exposes youth to numerous adverse health effects."
More information related to the rule and the poll is available on the committee's web, www.leg.mt.gov/cfhhs, under the "Legislative Poll: MAR Notice No. 37-923" link on the home page.