Commerce Committee Narrowly Advances Direct Shipment of Wine Legislation
Members of the Senate Commerce and Energy committee are split in their opinions of legislation that allows direct shipping of wine to consumers. There are currently 41 states that allow the direct shipment of wine, but South Dakota isn’t one of them. Senate Bill 114 seeks to change that. Supporters of the measure say it’s what consumers want, while opponents argue it puts South Dakota businesses at a disadvantage.
Proponents of Senate Bill 114 say the legislation is a collaborative effort of involved parties to give consumers what they want. They also say the measure ensures wine distributors follow the law and pay the right amount of taxes for direct shipment. Diana Miller representing South Dakotans for Better Wine Laws addresses concerns about minors ordering wine.
“We have two points of compliance check for underage drinking, or underage ordering. That is when you order the wine, you must show a government valid ID, picture ID, to order the wine. That will be checked. And then when it’s delivered, you must also show the valid government ID, and they cannot deliver to you unless they see that, and it cannot be left on the door,” Miller says.
Other supporters of Senate Bill 114 say wine is currently being shipped to South Dakota illegally, and this legislation will balance competition. Opponents of the bill disagree that it’ll level competition. They argue it puts South Dakota businesses at a disadvantage because out-of-state companies won’t pay the same tax rates or licensing fees. Lobbyist Jeremiah Murphy says there are other reasons not to expand direct shipment of wine.
“We all look at this and say we can buy everything online, Murphy, why can’t we buy alcohol online? Why not? Isn’t it time we come forward? There are three things in South Dakota that we do not permit to be sold online. We don’t permit ya to place a bet online, to purchase a wager so to speak, we don’t permit ya to buy tobacco online, and we don’t permit ya to buy booze online. What else do those things have in common? They’re all barred for use by minor children and certain young adults. They’re all dangerous in one way or another, they’re all addictive in one way or another,” Murphy says.
But South Dakotans are asking for this according to Senator Angie Buhl O’Donnell.
“I’ve heard overwhelmingly from consumers that they really want this. I understand there was a taskforce 10 years ago that sort of established the existing system, but frankly, from what I’m hearing from consumers, that’s just not working for them. I don’t fault them for wanting convenience. I think that our current retailers and brick and mortar folks still do have the upperhand when it comes to, frankly, last minute purchases for example,” Buhl O’Donnell says.
The committee did pass Senate Bill 114 to the Senate floor without recommendation.