Getting Bent Over In Illinois
I’m a big fan of press releases in today’s day and age. They allow us to get out information to a larger number of people than in the past, they can be formatted, sent and posted so that those who want the information are the ones to get it. And it allows me to get out this kind of information:
"According to "FollowTheMoney.Org", which tracks state campaign
contributions, the lead sponsor of HB 429, Representative Edward
Acevedo, has received $32,000 from alcohol wholesalers since 2000,
including $10,000 since the legislation was introduced last year. One
Senate sponsor of HB 429, James Clayborne, Jr., has received $85,000
from alcohol wholesaler interests since 2000, including $15,000 since
the legislation was introduced. Since 2002, Governor Rod Blagojevich,
who signed HB 429, has received more than $500,000 just from alcohol
wholesalers in Illinois, $50,000 of which was given to him since he
signed the bill into law."
HB 429 is the Illinois bill that was passed late last year, goes into effect on June 1 and that stripped Illinoisans of their right to have wine shipped to them from Internet wine stores.
Although the bill was written by wine wholesalers who really don’t like it when any transaction involving wine doesn’t provide them with their cut, and although it was introduced by those to whom the wholesalers contributed lots of money, the bill actually had fairly widespread support.
Among those supporting stripping consumers of the right they had for 15 years were:
-Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois
-California Wine Institute
-Wine & Spirit Distributors of Illinois
-Free the Grapes
-Beverage Retailers Alliance of Illinois
-Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association
Those who thought the bill unworthy of passage and that a better bill could have been crafted included:
-Specialty Wine Retailers Association
-Illinois Winemakers Alliance
There is a really interesting set of stories that come out of this situation that have to do with consumer rights, pay-to-play politics, relations between wine industry associations, constitutional issues, how best to fight for consumer rights, the cost of justice, etc. All these issues lend themselves to the press release format and, when packaged just right, to media coverage. An enterprising reporter can find in all this a really juicy, compelling, sensational story. And I have such a reporter is looking up this story as we type.
In any case, the real bottom line here is that Illinois consumers just got bent over by a surprising coalition.