Will Tennessee Lawmakers Commit Perjury To Defend an Anti-Wine Shipping Bill?
On Tuesday, March 2nd, we will finally have the opportunity to hear someone give a justification for why Tennessee ought to pass a law (HB 742) that would result in 60% of all wine shipments from out-of-state wineries being shut down.
That Tuesday there will be a hearing in the Department and Agencies Subcommittee on the bill that, if passed, would ban any shipments from out-of-state wineries that use fulfillment houses.
Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing the justifications for this bill. In particular, I’m looking forward to hearing what Representative William Lamberth, the sponsor of the bill, has to say. To date, the man hasn’t said “boo” explaining his desire to screw over his constituents. I’ll be watching.
That’s not to say that others have had nothing to say about this effort to kill off direct shipments to Tennessee wine lovers. Representative Dale Carr had this to say:
“This legislation does not stop or prohibit the shipping of wine. It’s important that we have moderation, regulation and control for the safety of the public when it comes to alcohol. Currently, we have many out-of-state vendors who are violating our existing state laws by not paying appropriate state taxes and shipping fake or tainted alcohol to consumers. This issue needs to be carefully examined because small businesses are being hurt by these out-of-state online retailers and fulfillment centers. The goal of House Bill 742 is to ensure alcohol is sold safely in a way that supports local business and Tennessee jobs.”
Representative Carr is lying.
He has no evidence and no reason to believe that any wineries outside of Tennessee are shipping fake or tainted wine into the state. Moreover, the out-of-state retailers he refers to are prohibited from shipping into Tennessee. And even if, by chance, some out-of-state retailers are shipping wine to consumers in Tennessee who could not find what they wanted due to the crappy selection of wines that in-state retailers are forced by Tennessee wholesalers to choose from, they too are not shipping fake or tainted wines.
Meanwhile, Senator Page Walley—the bills sponsor in the Tennessee Senate—had this to say about the legislation:
“Nothing in this legislation prohibits the direct shipping of wine to consumers, [as long as it comes] from the primary source of production. We cannot allow California companies to subvert our laws for their own benefit. We must protect the safety of Tennesseans by ensuring alcohol is sold in a safe manner. It’s as simple as that. I introduced this legislation because it puts the people of Tennessee first.”
Senator Walley is lying.
Nothing about stopping wineries from using fulfillment houses puts the people of Tennessee first nor does it protect the safety of anyone.
Whenever I see a bill like this and whenever I see lots of lying about a bill like this, I ask myself who does the bill benefit? Obviously, it doesn’t benefit Tennessee consumers and that’s why you won’t see any Tennessee consumers testifying in front of the Committee on Tuesday asking lawmakers to support the bill. Nor, by the way, will you likely see Tennessee wineries testifying in favor of the bill.
But if you want to know who benefits, wait and see who does testify in favor of the bill. I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that we will see Tennessee retailers and Tennessee wholesalers testifying in favor of the bill.
It will be interesting to see if Representative Lamberth joins his fellow sponsor and Representative Carr and lies about the bill while under oath. It will also be interesting to see if Representative Lamberth mentions the thousands of dollars he has received from the Tennessee wine retailers and wholesalers.
Politics and alcohol and lawmakers = Corruption. Representative Lamberth and Senator Walley would deny that, but what would you expect them to say? That they personify that corruption? Foxes don’t decry the decrepit state of the hen house.