So close, but so far on direct wine shipping
A blog posting on Eye on Annapolis about the direct wine shipping ammendment to the Winery Modernization Act that the Maryland Senate let "slip by the wayside":
The Maryland Senate flirted Tuesday
with the idea of letting state residents receive shipments of wine
direct from wineries, but ultimately let the proposal slip by the
Sen. Robert A. Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, tried to amend the
controversial direct shipping bill, which will likely not make it out of
committee, on to another winery bill on the Senate floor.
The move would have upset an uneasy compromise reached last week
between proponents of direct shipping - a majority of the 47 senators -
and Sen. Joan Carter Conway, the head of the health committee and a
unwavering opponent of the bill. They agreed to amend a direct shipping
study to Conway’s Winery Modernization Act, a bill that includes a slate
of technical changes to winery law. (Here’s our latest story on the winery
legislation in the General Assembly, and our longer overview.)
Zirkin’s gambit prompted nearly 30 minutes of debate on the Senate
floor, with some direct shipping proponents urging him to give up his
amendment so as not to scuttle the modernization bill, and others
clamoring for a chance to put the idea to a full-Senate vote.
Sen. Delores G. Kelley, D-Baltimore County, said her office received
more than 900 calls from direct shipping supporters this year.
“I must keep my word and I must support this, because apparently it’s
the only way it will come before us,” Kelley said.
In the end, Zirkin acquiesced to those who asked him to withdraw his
amendment - “I wish you had done that 25 minutes earlier,” Senate
President Thomas V. Mike Miller deadpanned - but not before Sen. Alex X.
Mooney, R-Frederick and Washington, tried to force a vote on the issue.
He took the unusual step of resisting Zirkin’s attempt to withdraw his
own amendment, calling for vote on the motion.
Mooney was defeated 42-4 and the modernization bill, including the
direct shipping study, moved closer to final Senate approval. The bill
appears to have support in the House of Delegates as well.