Tobacco Retailers License Ordinance_ Contra Costa_ Implementation

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                        Tobacco Retailers License Ordinance
                      Contra Costa County Code Chapter 445 – 10

       IMPLEMENTATION PROTOCOLS-DRAFT
I. Distribution of a Contra Costa County Tobacco Retailers License (TRL)

The TRL will be effective from July 1 – June 30 of each year.

       A. On an annual basis, the Treasurer/Tax Collector (T/TC) will send invoices to
       businesses for the Contra Costa County Business License (BL). The mailing will
       contain information about the TRL and the cost of the license. The license fee will
       cover the costs incurred by the T/TC to administer the license and related
       enforcement costs, and it will be set by the Board of Supervisors on an annual
       basis.1Upon receipt of the fee for a TLR, the T/TC will send the TLR to the retailer
       with instructions to the CCTR to adhere the TRL to the BL. The T/TC will
       provide a list of retailers who received Tobacco Retailer Licenses to the TPP no later
       than August of each year.

       B. On an annual basis, the Tobacco Prevention Project (TPP) of Contra Costa
       Health Services (CCHS) will provide to the Treasurer/Tax Collector:

               1. A Tobacco Retailer License (TRL) for each Contra Costa tobacco retailer
               CCTR) in the unincorporated areas of the County;
               2. Educational materials about the Tobacco Retailer License ordinance and
               its enforcement to be included in T/TC mailing;
               3. A list of known CCTRs in the unincorporated areas of the County;
               4. A list of CCTRs whose TRL is suspended, and
               5. A list of CCTRs who have outstanding fines.

       C. On an ongoing basis, the T/TC will issue a new TRL to CCTRs that are
       transferred to new owners or new locations once the application and fee have been
       received.

II. Posting of the Tobacco Retailers License

       A. Each CCTR will affix the Tobacco Retailers License to its Contra Costa County
       Business License and display both in public view.



1
 Fee for the Tobacco Retailer’s License has been set at $25.00 for FY 03 – 04.
Enforcement costs are absorbed by a state grant this year.

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       B. The TPP will conduct at least one inspection to each CCTR each year with
       follow-up inspections as needed, to confirm that this requirement is being met.



III. Denial of Tobacco Retailers License

There are several conditions for denial of the TLR. In each case, the T/TC will notify the
TPP if a CCTR has been denied a license. Likewise, the TPP will notify the T/TC about any
conditions that might affect the denial of a TLR. A CCTR whose TRL has been denied can
carry on its regular business other than selling tobacco products.

       A. The T/TC will deny the TRL if the CCTR’s license is suspended. If the T/TC
       has received the application fee, it will be returned until the suspension is over, at
       which point it will be accepted and the new TLR sent to the CCTR. The TPP will
       provide information to the T/TC about the timeline for suspensions and will work
       with the T/TC to implement this aspect of the TLR program.

       B. The T/TC will deny the TRL if the application is incomplete. The T/TC will
       inform the CCTR how to complete the application and process it once it has been
       re-submitted.

       C. The T/TC will deny the TRL if the CCTR has failed to pay outstanding fines.

       D. The T/TC will deny the TRL if the CCTR is unlawfully using land, a building or
       structure contrary to County Code Divisions 82 or 84.

IV. Violations

       A. Applicable Laws

        If a CCTR is found to be in violation of any federal, state or local tobacco control
       law, it will be subject to all fines or penalties associated with the violation. The
       enforcing department will send a copy of the violation to the TPP. Examples of the
       laws and the enforcing departments are:

                 1. PC308(a) (sales to minors) – Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office (CCSO)
                 2. STAKE Act (sales to minors) – California Department of Health Services,
                 Food and Drug Branch
                 3. PC 308.1 (sales of bidis in stores where minors are allowed) –CCSO
                 4. PC308.3 (sales of “loosies & kiddie packs”) – CCSO
                 5. Labor Code 6404.5 (Smoke-free Workplace Law) - CCSO
                 6. County Ordinance Code Chapter 445-6 (self-service displays of tobacco)
                 CCHS
                 7. County Ordinance Code Chapter 440 (Clean Indoor Air Ordinance)
                 CCHS

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       B. Complaints

       CCHS and CCSO staff may investigate any written complaints received by a private
       citizen, County officer or employee. Telephone complaints will be recorded and
       acted upon in a complaint log.

V. Suspension

CCTR’s who are found to violate applicable tobacco control laws may have their license
suspended. The license can be suspended only after the CCTR has had the opportunity to
attend a suspension hearing. If a license is suspended, then the CCTR must remove all
tobacco from public view during the suspension period.

       A. Timeline for Suspensions

              1. In the case of a first license violation, the license may be suspended for
              up to thirty (30) days.

              2. In the case of a second license violation within 24 months of the first
              violation, the license maybe suspended for up to ninety (90) days.

              3. In the case of a third and/or subsequent license violation within 24
              months of the most recent violation, the license may be suspended for up
              to one (1) year.

       B. Notice of Suspension Hearing

              1. The TPP will arrange a hearing date with the Director of Public Health.
              The hearing date will occur between 20 and 45 days after a notice of the
              suspension hearing is issued.

              2. The TPP will send a notice of the suspension hearing via certified mail
              from the Director of Public Health to the CCTR. It will contain:

                       a. The date of the violation;
                       b. The address where the violation occurred;
                       c. The specific code or law violated and a description of the violation;
                       d. The applicable suspension period outlined in the TRL ordinance;
                       e. The requirement that tobacco be removed from public view during
                       the suspension period;
                       f. The date, time and location of the suspension hearing;
                       g. The appeals process;
                       h. What will happen if they do not appear at the hearing.

       C. Suspension Hearing


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       The Public Health Director will conduct the hearing and listen to testimony
       regarding the violation and to testimony from the CCTR. The TPP or staff person
       of the Sheriff’s Office will present testimony regarding the violation. The Public
       Health Director will then issue a written decision regarding suspension. The written
       decision will include the reasons why the TRL is being suspended or not, and if it is
       being suspended, the time period of the suspension. Information on the appeals
       process will also be included. The decision will be sent to the retailer as specified in
       the ordinance. The CCTR will have an opportunity to appeal the suspension within
       30 days (see below. CCHS Finance will bill the CCTR for the hearing. The hearing
       fee will cover the costs incurred by CCHS to hold the hearing and related
       enforcement costs, and it will be set by the Board of Supervisors on an annual basis.2

       If the CCTR appeals the suspension, then the suspension will not go into effect until
       the Board of Supervisors meeting at which the appeal will be heard and the Board of
       Supervisors will make its final decision. If the CCTR does not appear at the hearing,
       the suspension will go into effect immediately on the date of the appeal.

       If the CCTR does not appeal the citation, then the suspension will go into effect the
       day after the deadline for filing the appeal.

       If the CCTR does not appear at the suspension hearing, the TRL will automatically
       be suspended effective on the hearing date.

       D. Re-Inspections

       CCHS may make at least two inspections during the suspension period to make sure
       that the terms of the suspension are being met including the removal of tobacco
       products from public view. The first inspection will be covered by the Enforcement
       Grant. The second inspection and subsequent re-inspections, will be paid by the
       retailer. CCHS Finance will bill the CCTR for the re-inspections related to
       monitoring the suspension period. The re-inspection fee will cover the costs
       incurred by CCHS to inspect the CCTR and related enforcement costs, and it will be
       set by the Board of Supervisors on an annual basis.3

VI. Revocation

A TRL can be revoked under certain circumstances, most of which are related to the
distribution of the license. The T/TC will provide the TPP information if there are grounds
for a revocation of a TRL. The license can be revoked only after the CCTR has had the
opportunity to attend a revocation hearing. If a license is revoked, then the CCTR cannot

2
 The hearing fee for the Tobacco Retailer’s License has been set at $348.00 during
FY 03 – 04.
3
 The re-inspection fee for the Tobacco Retailer’s License has been set at $110.00 during FY
03 – 04

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sell tobacco until the TRL is re-issued. The TTP will inform the T/TC when a TRL has
been revoked.



       A. Conditions for Revocation

              1. The TRL can be revoked if there are grounds for denial of a tobacco
              retailer license.

              2. The TRL can be revoked if the TRL fee is unpaid.

              3. The TRL can be revoked if the TRL has been transferred to a new owner
              or location in violation of Chapter 445 – 10.

       B. Notice of Revocation Hearing

              1. The TPP will arrange a hearing date with the Director of Public Health.
              The hearing date will occur between 20 and 45 days after a notice of the
              suspension hearing is issued.

              2. The TPP will send a notice of the revocation hearing via certified mail
              from the Director of Public Health to the CCTR. It will contain:

                      a. The address or location where the TLR is issued;
                      b. The grounds for revocation;
                      c. The time period of the revocation and when it will become
                      effective;
                      d. The date, time and location of the revocation hearing;
                      e. The appeals process.

              3. Seven days prior to the hearing, the TPP will send a courtesy memo
              reminding the CCTR of the condition that must be met in order to halt the
              revocation (i.e. Paying the TLR, submitting a new application for a TLR if
              the business is under new ownership or operating in a new location). If the
              CCTR meets the requirement, the revocation hearing will be cancelled.

       C. Revocation Hearing

       The Public Health Director will conduct the hearing and listen to testimony
       regarding the question of revocation. The Public Health Director will then issue a
       written decision regarding revocation. The written decision must include the reasons
       why the TRL is being revoked or not, and if it is being revoked, condition that must
       be met in order for the T/TC to re-issue the license. The decision will be sent to the
       retailer as specified in the ordinance. The CCTR will have an opportunity to appeal
       the revocation within 30 days (see below), and this will be detailed in the letter.

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       If the CCTR does not appear at the revocation hearing, the TRL will automatically
       be revoked effective on the hearing date.

       If the CCTR does not appeal the revocation, then the revocation will go into effect
       the day after the deadline for filing the appeal.

       If the CCTR appeals the revocation, then the revocation will not go into effect until
       the Board of Supervisors meeting at which the appeal will be heard and the Board of
       Supervisors will make its final decision.. If the CCTR does not appear at the appeals
       hearing, the revocation will go into effect immediately on the date of the appeal.

VII. Appeal of Suspension or Revocation

Any CCTR whose license is suspended or revoked will have the opportunity to appeal to
the Board of Supervisors. The CCTR will be notified of this opportunity in the notice of
suspension and/or revocation hearings, during the suspension and/or revocation hearings
and in the written decision regarding suspension and/or revocation.

       A. Timeline for Making the Appeal

       The CCTR who wishes to appeal a suspension or revocation has 30 days from the
       date the notice of suspension or revocation is sent. The specific deadline will be
       included in the notice of suspension or revocation. The CCTR must submit a request
       for the appeal in writing to the Clerk of Board at 651 Pine Street.

       B. Appeal Hearing

       The Clerk will set the hearing date and will notice the public hearing as provided in
       Contra Costa County Code Chapter 14 – 4. The Clerk will inform the Public Health
       Director and/or TPP that an appeal has been filed. The TPP and Clerk will work
       with the CAO’s analyst to set a hearing date. The TPP will inform the CAO analyst
       of the status of suspension/revocation hearings and appeals.

       The Board of Supervisors will listen to testimony from the CCTR, Public Health
       Director and others and make its decision whether to uphold or rescind the
       suspension or revocation appeal. The Board’s decision will be final.

       If the CCTR does not appear at the appeal hearing, the TRL will be suspended or
       revoked effective that day.

VII. Selling Tobacco Without a License

       A. Who May Be Fined

       A CCTR who sells tobacco without a license, whether because it has not been
       renewed, or because the license has been suspended or revoked, may be fined each
       day that tobacco is displayed or sold. The TPP or Sheriff’s Office will determine
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       whether tobacco is being displayed during an inspection or undercover buying
       operation. An inspection or buying operation must be conducted each day that the
       retailer is being fined.

       The fines are: $100 for the first day, $200 for the second day, $300 for the third and
       subsequent days.

       B. Notice of Fine

       The designated tobacco enforcement officer will send a notice regarding the fine
       after an inspection has been made to determine whether the retailer is selling tobacco
       without a license. The notice will include the County Code, description of the
       violations and when and where it occurred, directions for paying the fine and the
       appeals process.

       C. Renewing the TRL

       In the case of retailers who have not renewed their license, the tobacco enforcement
       officer may send notice that the fine can be avoided if the license is renewed within a
       designated time period.

VIII. Collection of Fines

       A. Suspension hearing fees and Re-inspection fees will be invoiced by CCHS Public
       Health Finance.

       B. Fines for selling tobacco without a license will be invoiced by CCHS Public
       Health Finance.

       C. Unpaid fines will be forwarded to the Tax Collector’s Office to be processed as
       part of tax collection.




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