Assembly ships wine shipping toward governor
The Senate has joined the House of Delegates in passing a proposal that enables wineries to ship bottles directly to Maryland homes.
All 45 senators who voted on the shipping bill gave it the green light.(Sen. J.B. Jennings is away at flight training and Sen. Ulysses Currie did not vote.)
Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he would sign the legislation. That's the only major step remaining, though procedural legislative votes remain. The legislation would take effect July 1, in time for late summer wine sipping.
After years of disputes about whether Maryland should join 37 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing wine shipping, the alcohol industry, consumers and lawmakers this year struck a compromise. The House passed the bill nearly unanimously on Saturday.
Wineries can pay a $200 annual fee to ship to Marylanders. Residents can receive up to 18 cases per year. Retailers, including those who feature "wine of the month" clubs, may not ship to Maryland homes. Only about a dozen states allow retailer shipping.