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Munoz042315State Senator Tony Munoz’s (D-Chicago) legislation that would add cigarettes that don’t bear a city or county tax stamp to the definition of “contraband cigarettes” was approved by the Senate today.

“The sale of untaxed cigarettes does our community a disservice,” Munoz said. “The practice of selling contraband cigarettes is irresponsible and only attracts violence and crime to our neighborhoods.”

Senate Bill 509 would allow cities and counties to enforce criminal action against retailers that avoid their taxpaying obligations. Currently, cities may only enforce an Administrative Notice of Ordinance Violation, but the civil penalty doesn’t deter individuals from selling untaxed cigarettes.

The sale of illegal cigarettes promotes gang related activities because they can render more profits than illegal drugs.

“By cracking down on these crimes, not only can we bring more revenue to the city of Chicago, but also cut down on the funding stream going to gangs,” Munoz said.

The legislation now moves on for consideration in the House.