Thursday, August 23, 2012
An unfortunate but expected update from Free the Grapes: Massachusetts House Bill 1029 won't be passed this legislative session. First introduced in 2011, the bill provided a framework for the direct shipment of wine from out of state wineries direct to Massachusetts residents.
A 2010 federal court ruling determined the state's current laws were unconstitutional because they discriminated against large wineries. HB 1029 would have lifted this large winery restriction, established mechanisms for licensing out of state wineries, provided a means for excise tax collection, and perhaps most importantly, defined a reasonable fee structure for FedEx and UPS to ship wine within the state.
What Happens Now?
It's back to the drawing board. Expect a new bill to be introduced in 2013. The legislative session in Massachusetts runs for two years so let's hope a new bill can be introduced that provides not only for winery direct shipments but for retailer shipments as well.
What Can I Do To Help?
In talking with my state representative about this issue, I learned that they're not hearing from a lot of consumers about their support of direct shipment of wine. Send your representative a sincere email asking where they stand on the issue and ask them to help push the issue along at every opportunity. Don't know who your representative is? A list can be found here.
Also consider dropping Representative Theodore Speliotis an email expressing your displeasure with the fact that committee he chairs failed to act on this bill for two years. Ironically, the committee is named the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. As a consumer I hardly feel protected by the lack of passage of this bill. In fact I feel like my rights as a consumer are being trampled upon in favor of a few who want to keep Massachusetts in the dark ages of commerce.
Why every Massachusetts resident should be in favor of the direct shipment of wine
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