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May 15, 2013 | 12:30 PM

This just in from the Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association:

HB 2537 passed out of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Tuesday, May 14, as substituted by Senator John Carona. As suspected, the substitute included language requiring wineries to produce or bottle 51% of the wine they ship. It also requires wineries to maintain complete records of each sale and delivery of wine shipped for at least five years from the date of the sale.

As previously reported, the TWGGA Board of Directors has visited and revisited the language requiring a winery to produce or bottle 51% of the wine they ship. In keeping with the Board consensus, President Ron Yates testified against the committee substitute at the hearing on Tuesday on behalf of TWGGA. The reasons for the Board's opposition to the committee substitute are:

• It protects the distribution tier rather than solving a public health safety and welfare issue for the citizens of Texas.
• It harms existing businesses that are operating within the law.
• It takes away winery operating rights when no public health, safety or welfare issue exists. This is a bad precedent.
• It hinders revenue growth for Texas wineries.
• It places undue reporting burdens on Texas wineries.

Click here to download the bill as it was substituted and passed out of committee.

Please contact your state senator's capitol office immediately, express your concern over this bill and ask them to vote not to suspend the three day constitutional rule for HB 2537. To find out who your state senator is please click the following link: www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx. Please also contact the Lieutenant Governor's office at 512/463-0001 about your concern for this bill.

Please e-mail Dacota Haselwood, TWGGA Chief Governmental Affairs Officer, at dacota@twgga.org with comments about your conversation with your senator's or the Lieutenant Governor's office or call 210-867-2576 with comments and questions.
 

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