Two bills in Oklahoma threaten winery direct shipping to wine lovers in the state.
House Bill 2640 and its companion, Senate Bill 796, recommend unnecessary and unworkable reporting requirements on wineries and the common carriers.
The bills would require wineries to report the license number of the fulfillment houses used to manage direct shipments -- but Oklahoma doesn’t issue licenses to fulfillment houses! Additionally, the bills would impose reporting requirements on common carriers that make it IMPOSSIBLE for them to comply, such as including the winery’s permit number – something the carriers simply cannot do!
These are “poison pill” bills – meant to look reasonable, but their motive is to shut down winery direct shipping. As of this writing, HB 2640 was voted out of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee (April 10) and is headed for a vote on the Senate floor. SB 796 is in the House Committee on Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances but is likely to get a House floor vote.
Free the Grapes! has been rallying consumers to use its website to voice their opinions on the two bills, and to email committee members directly. The coalition is requesting that wineries email their Oklahoma club member and mailing list subscribers with a simple message: take 2 minutes to visit the Free the Grapes Oklahoma page and use it to personalize a message which will be sent directly to state legislators. https://freethegrapes.org/alert/winery-oklahoma/
In 2016, the citizens of Oklahoma passed State Question 792 by 66%, which allowed for the direct shipment of wine to Oklahoma consumers. That privilege is directly threatened by HB 2640 and SB 796.