(Editors Note: So trying to cover the SB754 Co-Sponsors in, essentially, real time didn’t go as well as we had planned. Initially, as you likely saw, lawmakers that had distributors in their districts or had received decent to significant amounts of money from the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois had signed on in support of SB754. That led us to one conclusion and we reported as such. Then, more lawmakers signed on board – some with distributing interests and some without. THEN the flood gates opened and by the end of the day 30+ lawmakers signed on in support of this bill. We’re going to attempt to clean this original post up as best we can to give a better snapshot of who is now behind SB754.)
SB754, which passed the Illinois Senate on Tuesday with nearly 50 “yes” votes, is now in the Rules Committee in the Illinois House. If you recall from our early writing on this process, the members of the Rules Committee decide what committee a bill is assigned to or if a bill will ever be assigned to a committee.
The chief sponsor of SB754, State Representative Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley), is one of the members that make up the committee. In fact, of the five members of the Rules committee four are co-sponsoring the bill; Mautino, State Rep. Tim Schmitz (R-Geneva), State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and State Rep. Dave Leitch (R-Peoria). The only member of the Rules Committee that is not signed on as a co-sponsor is State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago). Currie serves as House Majority Leader and is second in command to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
Initially Mautino was the lone sponsor of the bill. But within 48 hours over thirty lawmakers climbed on board to support their local craft brewer or distributor.
Let’s not forget, that the ABDI is fighting to keep Anheuser-Busch from gaining self-distribution rights in Illinois. SB754, while not perfect, would succeed in keeping A-B out of the self-distribution game. ABDI President Bill Olsen backed that up in a recent letter to the editor published in Springfield’s State Journal Register (emphasis added), “A-B is opposing the passage of SB 754 because it only allows craft brewers to self-distribute. The Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois supports passage of SB 754. We believe craft brewers need self-distribution to get their breweries started; Anheuser-Busch doesn’t.”
Below is a look at some of the nearly 40 lawmakers currently supporting Save The Craft and SB754.
- Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) is the chief sponsor of the bill. As we told you on Tuesday, Mautino’s family owns a beer distribution company – Mautino Distributing. And the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois, which supports SB754, have a service award named after Frank’s late father. According to an ABDI press release, “the Richard A. Mautino Industry Service Award is given for outstanding contributions to the beer distribution industry. The award is named in honor of the late Richard A. Mautino, who was Vice President of Mautino Distributing Co. in Spring Valley, Illinois.”
- State Representative David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), a former state rep in the 80’s and 90’s and former adjutant general of the Illinois National Guard, has City Beverage’s Arlington Heights distribution center in his district. If you recall, City Beverage was the beer distribution company at the heart of last years Anheuser-Busch lawsuit that eventually forced the General Assembly to address self-distribution laws in Illinois.
- State Representative Eddie Acevedo (D-Chicago). His district borders City Beverage in Chicago but does not include it. But he has seen some big money from beer distributors over the last three election cycles. Since the 2006 election cycle Acevedo has received $33,500 from the ABDI; $20,500 of that came in 2008. When you include other distributors and beer distributor organizations Acevedo has received $42,500 in the last three election cycles.
- State Representative Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) was one of the original sponsors of the bill written by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. Big Muddy Brewing, arguably the poster-child of the this self-distribution legislation and one of two craft breweries in Illinois that distributes its own beer, is in Bost’s district.
- State Representative Art Turner (D-Chicago). Turner’s district includes Haymarket Pub and Brewery which is owned by Pete Crowley. Crowely is the president of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, which wrote the initial legislation and, at last check, opposes SB754.
Feel free to check the bill’s status to see if your local lawmaker is listed.
Right now 37 lawmakers have signed on to support SB754. That comes out to nearly 1/3rd of the Illinois House, which is made up of 118 members.
If you support this legislation and still think it’s fair to craft brewers, current and future, in Illinois then be sure to contact your local lawmaker – especially if they’re not listed as a co-sponsor.