The Alabama legislature has now adjourned. Wine Institute successfully opposed efforts by wholesalers to pass monopoly protection (franchise) laws in both Tuscaloosa and Lee Counties. Also, bills that would have imposed local sales taxes on sales of wine and spirits in Talladega and Shelby Counties were defeated. Local option laws in Alabama are traditionally hard to defeat so this was a very positive result for Wine Institute members.
In Louisiana, the governor signed legislation, sponsored by Wine Institute, which will move the label and brand registration process from the Louisiana Department of Health (DOH) over to the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC). Members have expressed frustration regarding very extended label processing times at DOH, so the intent of this bill is to have the process be streamlined by centralizing all alcohol licensing and label processes within the ATC. The new law becomes effective on Aug. 1, 2015 and Wine Institute will share the rules with members when developed. In addition, a tax measure that would have more than doubled the wine excise tax failed to pass this year.