Press Release: Legislators, Local Officials Applaud Committee Passage of SB 340

April 8, 2024

Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney and State Representative Al Paolillo (D-New Haven) applaud the Public Safety Committee for passing Senate Bill 340 out of committee recently. The bill could be considered by the full House and Senate in the coming weeks.


Senate Bill 340, "An Act Concerning Tobacco Dealer License Renewals" passed unanimously out of the Public Safety Committee. The bill would permit municipalities to adopt an ordinance requiring a person applying for renewal of a tobacco dealer's license to inform the chief law enforcement official, or such official's designee, of the application. It would permit such chief or designee to submit comments regarding the application and require the Commissioner of Revenue Services to consider such comments before approving such an application.


"The legislation would deter tobacco license violations, illegal activity, and violence in and around establishments that sell tobacco," said Senator Looney. "I would support adding a provision that allows residents to object to tobacco license renewals in their communities which would empower community members to raise public health and quality of life concerns."


"The bill involves stricter enforcement and more municipal police involvement regarding approvals of tobacco permit license renewals. Especially for businesses who have consistent non-compliance issues such as selling to minors and other illegal activities that negatively impact our community," said Rep. Paolillo, who is a member of the Public Safety Committee and served as a co-sponsor of the bill. "I thank all the public officials for their support on this issue and members of the New Haven community for submitting testimony or testifying in person on this bill. It was a complete team effort. I look forward to the next steps as the bill progresses through the legislative process."


"This legislation will allow us to maintain our responsibility to the community to uphold law and order and provide safer and healthier communities by holding those establishments that habitually violate state statutes accountable," said New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson. "The responsibility of review of liquor permits through my office, has been an efficient tool of managing problem establishments that sell liquor. I believe this legislation will be one additional tool that we can use to manage problem establishments."


"The broad range of New Haveners who provided oral and written testimony - including more than twenty City of New Haven health, safety, and economic development officials; education leaders; health advocates and researchers; small businesses; community activists; and members of the Board of Alders - speaks to the broad support for protecting our neighborhoods and especially our kids from underage tobacco sales and other illegal activities in and around some tobacco dealers, including some corner stores and smoke shops," said New Haven Alderman Sarah Miller. "Reliance on state enforcement findings alone misses the opportunity to fully utilize the knowledge of local law enforcement and residents. I am so grateful to Representative Paolillo and Senator Looney for working to enhance tobacco dealers' accountability to our communities."


"We know and have known for years that tobacco use is unsafe for our young people for so many reasons: it is harmful to the brain, lungs, and heart, can worsen mental health, and is associated with lower academic achievement and school absenteeism," said New Haven Public Health Director Maritza Bond. "The goal of S.B. 340 is to hold businesses that sell tobacco to underage kids accountable. I thank the Public Safety Committee for passing this bill out of committee and moving it one step closer to becoming law in Connecticut."


In his testimony before the Public Safety Committee, Mayor Justin Elicker concluded, "The passage of this legislation is not just a matter of regulatory reform; it is an important step towards prioritizing the health, safety, and future of our communities. Let us seize this opportunity to enact meaningful change and protect the well-being of all Connecticut residents."