GEORGIA UPDATE - Printable Version

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- Jerry D Mead - 01-03-1999 07:52 PM


On January 11, 1999 state representative Bobby Franklin of Cobb County will introduce HB7 to recommend repeal or ammending HB119 passed in 1997 making it a felony to directly ship wine (or any alcoholic beverage) into the state of Georgia.

In a recent interview with Mr. Franklin it was discovered that he isn't even a lover of wine, but simply an advocate of free trade in goods and services. Citing examples of other regulated industries such as automobile or insurance, Mr. Franklin said of existing laws today "What's going to happen tomorrow" when large corporations acting as legal monopolies work to pass legislation to further control and grow their businesses at the expense of the consumer.

Thoughts of the Jimmy Stewart movie "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" came to mind as David Harris, owner-Blackstock Vineyards in Georgia, and I discussed the difficulties with the quiet-natured Franklin, in having to get this bill addressed before the session ends here in March. Primary recommendations were to immediately regain the support of the few original house and senate members opposed when this bill was passed (in the words of the late, Atlanta wine writer, Bruce Galphin) "like a greased pig" in early 1997.

Although wine consumers and free trade advocates tied this up in two Senate comittees back then (one of which eliminated the ridiculous jail term originally proposed with the felony rap) it passed the Senate with a only a few more opposing votes. Governor Zell Miller was in his last term, and signed this into law in the summer of 1997. No changes occurred in 1998 other than more unknowing consumers finding out about it.

The January Issue of the Atlanta Wine Report is on the stands this week, and has limited coverage of this since the official introduction of this bill is on a back burner beginning Jan. 11 with the signing in of our new Governor, Roy Barnes first on the agenda.

The February Issue will explain in detail where this bill begins, unraveling the messy after-effects of HB119 with direction to national web sites, and other organizations such as Free the Grapes!, The Coalition for Free Trade in Licensed Beverages and others.

The Atlanta Wine Report is also seeking political writers and reporters for articles and potentially a regular "Wine and Politics" column to be published monthly. For more information, please visit our web site at Atlanta Wine Report Home or if this blue hyperlink does not work go to:

Anyone in the state of GA who wants more information on HB7 can call Mr. Franklin's office at (404) 656-0152. All Georgia wine consumers are urged to contact the leadership in their districts and express opposition soon to their representatives and senators. If the good ole boys understand that they may lose some of your votes over this ridiculous piece of legislation, they may support Mr. Franklin and the introduction of his bill for necessary changes in the archaic alchohol laws in the state of Georgia.

Those outside the state are also welcome to get involved.

Dan Thompson
Atlanta Wine Report
(770) 248-1335

(Note: The Atlanta Wine Report is a brand new Atlanta tabloid wine magazine in which a couple of my bits have been priviliged to appear. Thompson was one of the big fighters when the interstate felony was brought to Georgia last year. If you have wine loving friends in Georgia, pass this along and have them contact Thompson to join forces against the guys in black hats. JDM)