Raising the age at which young adults can purchase cigarettes is a good idea from a healthcare perspective.
But the way federal officials instituted the change in the law was poorly executed.
A provision raising the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21 years old was included as part of a major spending bill passed
by federal lawmakers and signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20. In the immediate aftermath, however, it remained unclear how and when such changes would be enforced.
Then came a clarification from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stating: “It is now illegal for a retailer to sell any tobacco product — including cigarettes, cigars and e-cigarettes — to anyone under 21.”
But some local stores weren’t convinced, suggesting that state law hadn’t changed, and therefore they’d continue selling products to anyone over 18.
The Dubuque Police Department held a similar view noting that officers enforce State of Iowa tobacco law, and hadn’t been given guidance on whether the state code would be amended to follow the change at the federal level.
Much like the application of laws governing the sale of CBD, law enforcement and small businesses need to be prepared for such a change. Health officials can hail the change, but it will do little good unless the new rule has the power of law.
If all goes according to plan, the Mustang Invitational swim meet should be held Saturday with dozens of prep swimmers christening Dubuque’s newest pool.
It’s been a long time coming.
The old Hempstead High School swimming pool closed in March when officials deemed the half-century-old pool to be beyond repair. The vessel had been leaking water for more than six years, swelling to an estimated 4,000 gallons per week.
The new pool, long on the Dubuque Community School District’s wish list, moved into the pressing need category.
Now, the $9.5 million district aquatic center is ready for action. The eight-lane pool measures 121 feet by 75 feet and features a movable bulkhead that officials can adjust to allow multiple teams to practice at once. There’s expanded seating, a classroom space and a new digital scoreboard.
Further, the pool will benefit the community, providing a space for the Dubuque Area Swimmin’ Hurricanes, the club team that raised $1 million to help the district expand the size of the pool. In exchange, DASH can use the pool when it is not in use by the district.
That’s a great opportunity for shared facilities — and a good use of taxpayer dollars. The project is evidence of the kind of projects paid for by the 1% sales tax. The roughly $10 million per year it generates allows the district to take on larger projects sooner and faster, without tacking the expense onto property owners’ tax bills. Voters in November wisely agreed to extend that sales tax out into the distant future — beyond 2050.
Congrats to the school district on this exciting new facilities addition.
While Washington politics seem to grow more divisive every day, elected officials from this area say that’s just not how it is at the Capitol in Des Moines. “Iowa nice” still rules the day in the Iowa Statehouse.
Legislators from the Dubuque area gathered Wednesday for a Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce legislative preview luncheon. Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, gamely joined the panel of four Democrats who represent voters in Dubuque County and the surrounding area. Lundgren made a point of noting that media portrayal of partisan politics isn’t what it’s like in the Iowa Legislature.
“If you saw us all at our desks in Des Moines, you would see the camaraderie,” Lundgren said, estimating that 90% of the legislation they work on is bipartisan.
Sure enough, Lundgren and her colleagues found much more to agree on than areas they differed at the luncheon panel. When the issue of minimum wage came up, and Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque, expressed a contrary opinion to Lundgren’s, she did so respectfully, and the conversation continued thoughtfully and completely without animus.
It was great seeing lawmakers talk about the issues that matter most to local constituents and show that partisan bickering doesn’t have to be part of political dialogue.