Sep 292010
 

News Flash: WineAmerica Applauds House Judiciary Committee for Holding Hearing on H.R.5034

WineAmerica News Brief forwarded by Cord Switzer at Fredericksburg Winery

Today, the House Judiciary Committee held its much anticipated hearing on H.R. 5034. For three hours, Committee Members heard from several of their colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, as well as from alcohol industry representatives as they in turn offered support or opposition to the legislation. By the time it was over, it was clear that our concerns regarding H.R. 5034 have been heard by Congress and there is a desire to make sure those concerns are addressed and not overlooked in the next step of the process.

This was in part evidenced by the opening statement by committee Ranking Member Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) who hoped the hearing would “help us construct a bill that will be acceptable to all stakeholders.

The most interesting acknowledgement to come out of the hearing was the seeming admission by the wholesaler’s own expert that H.R. 5034 would lead to more litigation, not less. Professor Steve Diamond engaged in repeated back and forth exchanges with producer expert witnesses about the likely effect of H.R. 5034 on various court precedents. He repeatedly and readily recognized that courts would be re-litigating and rehearing long settled principles of alcohol law for years to come if H.R. 5034 becomes law.

WineAmerica Chief Operating Officer Cary Greene offered his thoughts on today’s hearing: “At today’s hearing, H.R. 5034 showed its true colors. This is pure special interest legislation that will harm wineries and consumers and upend decades of settled alcohol law.”

Press contact: Jennifer Montgomery, Director of Grassroots & Political Affairs, 202.783.2756 ex. 128.

More at: http://www.wineamerica.org/

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Behind the scenes scuttlebutt indicates that nothing will be done with this draft bill until well after the November elections. As stated above, true colors are being shown by the parties of interest, namely those in wholesale distribution of alcoholic beverages. In addition, the implications of this potential legislation are also better appreciated by those who will have to act on it.

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Links to the written submissions of those testifying in the hearings are given below:

Witness List

Panel I
Hon. Mike Thompson U.S. House of Representatives 1st District, CA
Hon. Peter A. DeFazio U.S. House of Representatives 4th District, OR
Hon. Bruce Braley U.S. House of Representatives 1st District, IA
Hon. Edolphus “Ed” Towns U.S. House of Representatives 10th District, NY
Hon. George P. Radanovich U.S. House of Representatives 19th District, CA
Hon. Gary G. Miller U.S. House of Representatives 42nd District, CA
Panel II
Hon. Mark L. Shurtleff Utah Attorney General Salt Lake City, UT
Richard A. Doyle Chairman and CEO Harpoon Brewery Boston, MA on behalf of The Brewers Association
Nida R. Samona Chairperson Michigan Liquor Control Commission Lansing, MI
Stephen M. Diamond Professor of Law University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
Einer Richard Elhauge Petrie Professor of Law Harvard Law School Cambridge, MA
Tracy K. Genesen Partner Kirkland & Ellis LLP San Francisco, CA on behalf of The Wine Institute
Michele R. Simon Research and Policy Director Marin Institute San Rafael, CA
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