SACRAMENTO, Calif.--()--The Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA) has submitted written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee in advance of its hearings on H.R. 5034, scheduled for Wednesday, September 29. The bill threatens to strip wine retailers of their Constitutional Commerce Clause protections against state discrimination. H.R. 5034 is opposed by SWRA for the devastating impact it will have on retailers’ ability to compete and for the reduction in consumer access to wine it will lead to.
“While we are dismayed wine retailers and consumers are excluded from testifying on a bill that most effects them, SWRA is hopeful that the Committee will see H.R. 5034 for the radical, protectionist and unnecessary legislation it is”
Wine retailers were not invited to testify at the hearings. Yet if passed, H.R. 5034 would harm wine retailers by:
• Revoking wine retailers’ constitutional right to be free of state-based discriminatory laws
• Allowing states to pass discriminating laws banning retailers from shipping to consumers
• Prohibiting retailers from challenging protectionist state laws in federal court
• Allowing higher taxes and fees on wines shipped from out-of-state retailers
• Allowing states to ban out-of-state retailers from advertising
• Allowing states to limit the number of outlets a non-resident retailer may open
In its written testimony, SWRA points out the extraordinary impact that H.R. 5034 would have on wine stores:
“The Specialty Wine Retailers Association represents wine merchants across the country who, under H.R. 5034, would suffer in ways we can not even imagine at this point because the legislation being considered is so far reaching, so radical and so disconnected from our political, legal and commercial traditions that its impact of stripping an industry of its Commerce Clause protections has only occurred one other time in the history of our nation.”
The testimony asks committee members to oppose H.R. 5034:
“On behalf of wine retailers across the country, we respectfully ask that the members of this committee oppose H.R. 5034 in order to assure that the hundreds of thousands of wine retailers across the country not be thrown under the Constitutional bus for reasons that can’t rationally be justified beyond seeking to protect the special interests driving the bus.”
Alcohol producers, importers and wine retailers oppose H.R. 5034. Introduced at the request of alcohol wholesalers, H.R. 5034 would not only allow discriminatory laws aimed at wine stores, but would allow state laws discriminating against wineries, which would advance the alcohol wholesalers’ agenda of limiting consumer access to wine except for products that wholesalers represent.
“While we are dismayed wine retailers and consumers are excluded from testifying on a bill that most effects them, SWRA is hopeful that the Committee will see H.R. 5034 for the radical, protectionist and unnecessary legislation it is,” said Tom Wark, executive director of the SWRA.”
SWRA’s written testimony can be found at: http://www.specialtywineretailers.org/documents/SWRA-HR5034-92910-Testimony.pdf