Thursday, March 31, 2011

Legislative Update

Dear FWWS Members,

We are still in the thick of the legislative session, and being an all volunteer organization, we're sure you will understand we are all stretched pretty thin at this point. We do want to give you a quick update on the session.

Once again, the Washington Beer and Wine Wholesaler's Association joined the Washington Wine Institute in opposing three of the four bills we introduced this year. None of these bills made it out of committee, though we were encouraged that more and more legislators and interest groups are understanding the issues and pushing back against the status quo. Once the session ends and we can see what shakes out, we will be giving a much more detailed report on these bills, the support and opposition, and the arguments for and against. We will also give an an overview on a number of other wine-related bills that were introduced this session.

Our one year tax reporting bill fared significantly better. Though we received no support for this bill from the above noted groups, we at least had no opposition. This bill passed out of the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, the Senate Ways and Means Committee (a milestone given the fiscal note attached to the bill and probably due in no small part to Senator Adam Kline's personal testimony), and finally the Senate Rules Committee. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass out of the rules committee until the last possible day and died on the floor for lack of a vote before the cutoff deadline. Presently, we are attempting, through our legislative supporters, to have this bill attached to another bill by amendment. Though there is no opposition to the bill, this is a bit of an uphill battle.

As stated earlier, we will be giving a detailed recap of the good, the bad, and the ugly once the session ends. We will also be giving well-deserved kudos to the hard work of our growing number of supporters in the Legislature. Stay tuned.

Your FWWS Board

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