Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Direct Shipping News from Illinois

As reported by the Wine & Spirits Daily:
"SWRA THREATENS LAWSUIT IN ILLINOIS. Pending direct shipping litigation (HB 429) in Illinois awaits a decision by House Speaker Michael Madigan. Michael must release HB 429 for a vote by Thursday, kill the bill entirely or extend the deadline. Quick refresher: HB 429 would allow in-state and out- of-state wineries to ship 12 cases a year directly to an individual and restaurant, while small wineries (producing less than 25,000 gallons a year) would be able to deliver up to 5,000 gallons of wine annually to retailers. In-state retailers would also retain the ability to ship directly to consumers, but out-of-state retailers would lose that privilege under the bill. Since then, Representative Julie Hamos has presented an amendment that would allow out-of- state retailers to ship directly to Illinois consumers. This is where the problems start to arise. The Specialty Wine Retailers Association, led by executive director Tom Wark, is fighting to pass the amendment and have already promised a lawsuit against the state if the amendment is not passed. The SWRA believes the Commerce Clause forbids states from giving "differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefits the former and burdens the latter." In their opinion, forbidding out-of-state retailers from shipping directly to consumers when in-state retailers are allowed to do so is in violation of the Commerce Clause. "Lessoning consumer choice and inviting an inevitable lawsuit seems a poor trade-off for the chance to pass protectionist legislation on behalf of the State's alcohol distribution industry," said Tom Wark. According Jerry Rosen, executive director of the Beverage Retailer's Alliance of Illinois, out-of-state retailers are putting in-state retailers at a competitive disadvantage by incorrectly using Granholm as a way to fight for direct shipping rights. "

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