As you probably know, House Bill 294 has been languishing in committee since it received a hearing last November.
But on April 30, the House approved a budget that includes provisions for limited, regulated winery-to-consumer direct shipping. This is a major step forward. Wine Institute reports that the Senate will work on its budget very soon. If the Senate includes an amendment to the budget with the same or similar provisions, then we are another step closer to winery direct shipping in Massachusetts. (Inclusion of the shipping language in the budget would supersede HB 294.) The Governor has already indicated his support for regulated winery shipping.
ACTION: Contact consumers on your email lists and through your social media assets encouraging them to take two minutes to visit www.freethegrapes.org and personalize our sample copy that will be sent automatically to their Senator.
Sample Copy: Feel free to re-purpose the copy we have on our website for Massachusetts.
Press coverage of this issue has been overall positive in MA – see the Boston Globe editorial by an influential columnist, below. But we are facing an onslaught by the influential wholesalers, who operate behind the package store association.
- Boston Globe, April 2, Editorial: “Why no wine online in Mass?”
- Lowell Sun, May 8, article, “Wine legislation uncorks debate.”
Pennsylvania: Bills Still Alive
As previously reported, there are several wine direct shipping bills in play in the Keystone State. Some of the language appears in a large “modernization” bill; there are several stand-alone bills as well. Wine industry representatives continue to work closely with PA legislators to pass a wine shipping law that expands choice for wine lovers while avoiding onerous taxes.
ACTION: Include a paragraph on PA in your next consumer e-newsletters, and post it on Facebook. Click here for copy to use.
South Dakota: Favorable Bill Killed in Committee
Senate Bill 114, which was voted successfully out of the Senate on February 24, was killed in the House on March 5. There was intense opposition to the bill by in-state beer wholesalers, plus the South Dakota Licensed Beverage Dealers. We’ve posted a few more details on our website here.
Delaware: Favorable Bill Alive in Committee
House Bill 60 was voted out of the House Economic Development, Banking, Insurance, and Commerce Committee early this year. The bill would allow Delaware residents to have up to 3 cases of wine shipped to them annually. This is the sixth year that Representative Hudson has introduced direct wine shipping legislation and the first time it has passed out of committee.
ACTION: Include a paragraph on DE in your next consumer e-newsletter. Feel free to use the coy posted to our website here.
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Free the Grapes!