(The Daily Sip) – Nevada legislators are mulling a new tax on cigarettes and liquor, and to those of us living in Sin City, that’s a sin! However, our state legislators aren’t the only ones who have their eyes on the dollars that type of tax could raise. The following article shows that we must also be vigilant on the Federal front. – Ed.
The bill that would end online wine shopping is back.
Last year we brought you this interview with Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) about HR 5034, a bill in Congress that threatened your ability to buy wine online and have it shipped to your home. The good news is that the bill never got a vote before the session ended. The bad news: It’s back now, reintroduced as HR 1161.
The bill is designed to make it impossible for consumers to sue a state to try and gain the ability to buy and receive wine shipments. Instead, it puts the power fully in the hands of elected officials who–you guessed it–fund their campaigns with donations from liquor wholesalers. If the bill passes and you live in a state where there’s no shipping, you won’t ever see it. If you live in a state that enjoys legal shipping, the state legislature can get rid of it without consumers like you able to do a thing about it. (You can learn more about the bill from this excellent piece in yesterday’s New York Times).
In the coming months as the bill works its way around the House to gain cosponsors and earn hearings, expect an epic battle. In one corner will be America’s wholesalers, who pump money into election campaigns as if there’s no tomorrow. In the other corner will be consumers and a passionately united coalition of beer, wine and spirits producers. Everyone will be duking it out for the votes.
To learn more about your ability to buy wine online and how HR 1161 threatens that practice, follow Stop HR 1161 on Facebook, or click here to express your opinion on the bill to your local representative.
(This article appeared in the April 5, 2011, issue of The Daily Sip, from Bottlenotes. Read more online at http://bottlenotes.com/the-daily-sip. – Ed.)