Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's Back. The Wholesaler Monoply Protection Act.

Since we're talking about laws, the Wholesaler Monopoly Protection Act (real name: Community Alcohol Regulatory Effectiveness Act -- abbreviation 'CARE') is back. It was reintroduced in Congress two weeks ago as HR 1161.

All pending bills expire at the end of each Congress and have to be re-introduced. This is the new version of HR 5034, which I wrote about it here and here.

Everyone agrees that the bill would give states more power to regulate alcohol distribution. The disagreement is about whether this is a good or bad thing.

I believe it is a bad law and can be defeated (again) but it will take some effort. The problem is that wholesalers throw around a lot of campaign cash and many legislators see it as a harmless sop to some big contributors. Not being thinking people, they don't think about how this could harm the hospitality industry in their district. It would harm producers too, off course but, state-by-state, wholesalers are much more influential than producers.

It's also bad for consumers, assuming you believe alcohol is already regulated quite enough, thank you. States don't need additional authority to lighten the regulatory burden, only to increase it.

For instance, if you think it is hard to get limited release whiskeys where you live now, passage of HR 1161 will only make it worse.

Lawmakers love their campaign money but counter-pressure will work. They usually hope with this sort of thing that no one will notice. Let them know you've noticed and they'll think twice before supporting it.

Go here if you would like to learn more about the bill, such as whether or not your representative is a co-sponsor. Check back to follow its progress . is neutral regarding the bill. If you'd like to know more about why it sucks, go here and here.


Wade said...

sent my letter to Congressman Ted Poe, a sponsor on bill.

Chuck Cowdery said...

This seems like a good place to note that this bill is dead. The two sides reached an understanding.

Thanks to everyone who made their displeasure known.