KARL: With a minimal amount of argumentation, the House Executive Committee has passed SB754 onto the full House by a vote of 11-0. We’ve been spending so much time talking about this, we almost wish we had a few more fireworks to report, but we’ll take what we can get, especially since the overwhelming support of the bill continues to indicate that the bill will face minimal opposition when it goes to the full legislature.
After being scheduled for a 10am meeting, the committee was pushed back to noon, and finally got underway around 1ish. (For the full livetweeting of the meeting, check our Twitter feed here.)
Bob Myers of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois started the testimony, stating that while the bill has come a long way, it’s not a completely agreed-upon bill. Dave Stricklin of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild seconded that emotion, conceding that “if you are a small craft production brewery this is a good bill.”
Despite that, the ICBG continued to “reluctantly oppose” based on the brewpub amendment that requires a second brewing location for self-distribution. Since the numbers appear to indicate the bill will pass the house, it seems the ICBG has decided that even though some of their members will directly benefit from its passage, they can safely stand on principle against the legislation as it stands.
Beyond that, Rep. Mautino indicated that adjusting the amendment in the manner that the ICBG favors could open the whole process up to another lawsuit from a major brewer, stating that brewpubs would then be taking part in all three tiers of the three-tier system. After the meeting and the vote, ABDI’s Bill Olson stated that the legislation as it stands wouldn’t force Two Brothers to divest itself of Windy City Distro, apparently saying that a simple paperwork change is all that would be necessary to carry on as they’ve been doing.
That’s where we’re at.
Now it’s onto the full House, hopefully followed by a signature from the Governor. That vote could come anytime between Thursday and May 31st. We’ll keep an eye on it, of course, and keep you posted accordingly. It seems that one way or the other, we’re approaching the finish line for Save The Craft.