Wednesday, April 21, 2010

HR 5034 Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness (CARE) Act of 2010

Proposed legislation ( recently introduced in the US Congress would offer federal backing to anti-competitive and discriminatory state alcohol beverage laws. Supported by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), this damaging bill would give wholesalers the ability to use state law to insulate themselves from competition. Family Wineries of Washington State (FWWS) strongly opposes this effort.

NBWA’s legislation would, without any justification, allow states considering alcohol beverage measures to virtually ignore the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution and federal law in all but the narrowest circumstances. This is a dangerous precedent, since courts and Congress historically have struck a careful balance, when considering state alcohol laws, between the Twenty-first Amendment (that gives states authority over the importation, transportation, and delivery of alcohol within their borders) and other parts of the Constitution.

By seeking a blunt reconfiguration of the relationship between the Constitution and state alcohol laws, NBWA is asking Congress to put a thumb on the scale in favor of their monopoly distribution system. The proposed legislation, while couched as addressing public safety and states’ rights, is merely a smoke screen for a power grab by beer wholesalers that would stunt competition, reverse years of long-established judicial precedent, and severely limit consumer choice. Not surprisingly, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) weighed-in in support of this ill-conceived proposed legislation ( which, if passed, could severely curtail the ability of wineries to direct-ship wines.

FWWS will be preparing a statement in opposition to this legislation soon and will transmit it to our legislators in Washington, D.C. In addition we encourage each of our members as well as all wineries and wine industry members to individually contact your legislative representatives to strongly oppose HR5034. We also encourage each of our members and all wine industry members to visit the many on-line discussions and voice your opposition to this proposed legislation:


Free the Grapes

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