In the last month, an insidious piece of proposed legislation has been introduced for discussion in the House of Representatives.
H.R. 5034, the “Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2010” (cynically: “CARE”) is being sold as a Public Safety/Health and State’s Rights bill. It is not. It is an economic power grab by the National Beer Wholesalers and the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America.
The reason why this bill is important to all wine lovers (and to those who care about Central Coast wines) is that this bill will absolutely kill the small-production wineries which make up a large part of the Central Coast wine landscape. With that will go jobs and economic stability (or what ever semblance of it the Central Coast wine industry currently has).
To read the full text of this proposed bill, you can go here.
To understand the proposed bill, you can get a good analysis here.
To learn about this proposed bill’s context and history, read here.
To see why your action is necessary, you can read an exchange between Jason Haas (of Tablas Creek Vineyards in Paso Robles) and Representative Kevin McCarthy here. It is troubling to think how many more representatives may be unable to see through this proposed bill’s thin veil, don’t want to see, don’t care or are more interested in helping out Wine and Spirits Wholesalers.
If you care about Central Coast wines (or any wine, for that matter) and don’t want to see your choice in wine (and numerous wineries and jobs) decimated, there are two very simple things you can do:
1. Join groups that oppose H.R. 5034.
“Stop H.R. 5034″ on Facebook.
By joining this group of nearly 10,000 people (as of the time of this posting – and growing), you’ll receive up-to-date information on the status of the bill and media coverage of the bill.
Your membership in this group will count because you will be able to get involved in grassroots efforts to actively oppose this proposed bill.
A new website dedicated to opposing HR 5034 is being developed by the Specialty Wine Retailers Association. The STOPHR5034.org website will be a repository for information about the bill, its supporters, its opponents and give you the ability to take action. In addition, you will be able to sign up for email updates on the progress of the bill and developments surrounding the bill.
This new website should be up and running by weeks end.
2. Write your Congressional representative.
Copy and past the short letter, below. Add whatever other comments you want. Send it to your representative.
RE: House Bill HR 5034: The Comprehensive Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act of 2010
Dear Congressman/Congresswoman _______________ ;
I am writing to urge you to oppose HR 5034.
This is a piece of anti-consumer legislation. It only serves the wine wholesalers and wine distributors.
It will not curtail alcohol abuse, underage drinking or the social and financial cost stemming from those issues. But it will strengthen the wine distributor’s and wholesalers’ restrictive control over consumer choice.
As a responsible wine lover, I want access to and choice in wines.
HR 5034 will result in PERMANENTLY limiting my access to and choice of wine.
Please, do not support HR 5034!
You can find your representative here.
To find your 4-digit zip code extension, go here.
An easier to complete form is available here.
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