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Uresti Files Bills to Raise Tobacco Age and Improve Voter Registration

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December 1, 2016

State Sen. Carlos Uresti filed Senate Bill 183 to increase the legal age to purchase, possess, or consume tobacco and nicotine products in Texas from 18 to 21 years of age, and Senate Bill 228 to allow municipalities the freedom to determine a smoking age that is best for their local community.
“There exists support from a broad coalition of Texans for solutions to address teen smoking, from health care professionals to Veterans.” said Senator Carlos Uresti
Uresti — noting that tobacco use kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car crashes, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined — said cities and the state have an obligation to discourage young people from taking up a habit that is likely to shorten their lives.
"An increased smoking age takes advantage of a simple fact—the later one tries that first cigarette, the less likely they are to become a lifetime user. Studies are finding that between ages 18 and 21 kids are moving from experimental smoking, to become regular everyday smokers. We know that ninety-five percent of adult smokers begin before age 21.” said Uresti
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, some 24,500 adult Texans die each year from smoking, and 503,000 kids currently under the age of 18 will ultimately die prematurely from tobacco.
Senator Carlos Uresti also pre-filed legislation for the upcoming 85th Legislative Session aimed at bringing common sense reforms to Texas’ voter registration process.

“Texas ranks near the bottom in the percentage of our voting age population who are registered to vote. I want to make registration more efficient, convenient, and secure than the process that is in place today.” said Senator Carlos Uresti

Over 36 states provide a method to register to vote online, or have passed legislation to implement a system in the near future. Senator Uresti filed Senate Bill 185 to establish a secure method to allow Texas residents to register to vote online.

“Texas has a booming high-tech industry, and most of our residents conduct their government business online. Texas also has a large population of military, who are twice as mobile as the general population and would benefit from an easier method to register. Providing citizens a secure and convenient method to register to vote online is good government, will save our state and counties millions of dollars, and will clean up our voter rolls.” said Uresti

Senator Uresti also filed Senate Bill 186 to automatically register a citizen who applies for a driver’s license or ID card to vote, and to keep their voter registration address current with their driver’s license or ID card address. Senator Uresti filed Senate Bill 187 to allow Texans to preregister to vote upon turning 17 years of age.