The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (FSHCC) is the only statewide economic development organization dedicated to serving the needs of the Hispanic business community. We have 38 chapters in Florida and work with more than 80,000 minority-owned businesses, many of whom are in the grocery and convenience store industry.
We were recently made aware of an important piece of legislation needed to support many of our member companies, and in turn, many jobs in the state. This legislation (HR 1136) will provide common-sense and much-needed regulation of vapor products and the growing vapor industry. The bipartisan bill sponsored by Congressman Tom Cole and Congressman Sanford Bishop is called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deeming Authority Clarification Act of 2017.
This legislation will move the predicate date of the FDA vapor product rules from 2007 to 2016, which could allow for consistency in the marketplace and save thousands of small and mid-size businesses and jobs. If the predicate date remains unchanged, all products made after 2007 could be pulled off the shelves, crippling businesses by preventing the sales of vapor products, a less harmful alternative to traditional tobacco products.
As you can imagine, if the predicate date is not modernized, the FDA could be flooded with applications to start the expensive and lengthy approval process, leaving business owners unable to sell products to consumers or keep their employees.
The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce urges U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Val Demings to support H.R. 1136 and urge leadership to make this a priority this year.
Julio Fuentes is president of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.