Council to review e-cigarette policies

Alhambra City Council discussed Monday evening the sale and use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, in Alhambra. Members voted on two pieces of legislation: a regular ordinance that would regulate the use and sale of e-cigarettes in public places, and an urgency ordinance that would immediately stop the issuance of new permits for e-cigarette retailers. Council approved the first and the ordinance will move on to a second reading, while the second did not receive the anonymous approval required to pass an urgency ordinance.

Councilman Gary Yamauchi voted against the urgency ordinance due to a lack of information regarding the effects of e-cigarettes. “I was under the impression that is why these e-cigarettes came out, so they would eliminate second-hand smoke," Yamauchi said during the meeting. "It was because of that confusion that I voted the way I did and I just need more information."

The council will have 45 days to study and determine how to regulate the issuance of permits for e-cigarette retailers. Alhambra City Hall has received 24 applications since February.

Council also adopted a resolution to oppose any bills or ballot measures that would increase injury compensation under the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA). MICRA, a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, caps the amount of money available to medical malpractice victims at $250,000. Lawyers and advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog have argued that the existing cap does not allow for inflation. However, the cities of Azusa, Downey, and Carson have joined medical groups and health advocacy organizations that have publicly opposed the changes to the law, arguing that raising the cap will increase local government spending and allow lawyers to overcharge doctors and hospitals.

Weren't able to attend the meeting? You can watch it here. City Council usually meets every second and fourth Monday of the month on the second floor of City Hall. The next meeting will be a Strategic Planning Retreat on Oct. 22 from 7:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:30-5 p.m. at Reese Hall in the Alhambra Civic Library. The meeting is open to the public.

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