Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.”     Samuel Adams

May 14, 2009

Alabama’s hops are almost free

by Stephen Gordon

I’ve been writing about a bill in Alabama to Free the Hops.  The bill just passed the Alabama Senate and is heading to the Governor’s office to be signed into law.  Here’s the relevant news update:

The bill passed the Senate 22-9 and now goes to the governor. If signed, retailers would be allowed the sale of certain gourmet and imported beers in Alabama. Free the Hops, an organization which lobbied for the bill, says the beverages cost an average of $5 to $6 a bottle.

The bill came up for consideration earlier in the session but was filibustered by state Sen. Hank Erwin, R-Montevallo, who cited his personal opposition to alcohol consumption in blocking the legislation. Erwin was not in the Senate chamber for Thursday’s vote; however, the Senate approved the bill by using a previous vote total. Erwin was on that roll as voting aye.

I’m not sure why Erwin left the Senate floor, as he’d threatened to filibuster this bill to the very end.  That someone voted “aye” for him leaves a smile on my face.  Here’s the next (hopefully final) step in the process:

We need to do everything we can to encourage the Governor to either sign our bill. That’s why we’re asking everyone in the state who values personal freedom and who thinks the Alabama government should stop telling us which beers are ok to drink and which ones we can’t handle to contact Governor Riley immediately. By phone, fax, or email, whatever works best for you.

We’ve even had one of his former staffers give us some tips on how best to go about this:

The volume of letters and phone calls that he receives on a particular issue is reported to him every morning, and he takes them seriously. … A couple quick points:

  • They have a pretty sophisticated constituent database, so multiple calls/mail from the same person won’t accomplish much. They report to him the number of persons, not the number of communications.
  • Any arguments that sounds like something the gambling folks would say should be avoided (”People go over state lines to do it anyway…”). You don’t want to equate yourself with those guys in his mind.
  • Arguments about personal liberty and economic development will probably have more sway.
    Pointing out the surrounding states that allow it will also be helpful. The fact that GA, NC, SC, and WV have passed these bills in the past couple years is persuasive.

Just keep it short and to the point.  Let him know you support the bill and why.

Here’s contact information for the Governor’s office:

Switchboard:  (334) 242-7100
Fax:  (334) 353-0004
Email form:  http://www.governor.alabama.gov/contact/contact_form.aspx

Don’t hesitate!  We haven’t come this far only to suffer a veto now.  Make sure Gov. Riley knows the people of Alabama want him to sign HB373 into law.
Thank you to everyone who has gotten us to this point.  Time to seal the deal.

For folks in Alabama, the party tonight is going in Birmingham at the J. Clyde.

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3 Comments

  1. All that we (the supporters of this bill) ask for is the right to purchase. It does not mean that we are going to hand over our wallets and purses. It also doesnt mean that we are going to neglect our parental and taxpayer duties. Many of us are fervent Christians, and yet we are Americans. We believe in the right to decide and choose for ourselves. Feel free the visit http://www.freethehops.org for more info.

    Comment by mattywatty — May 14, 2009 @ 2:53 pm
  2. Congrats! One last step and you’ll have removed one of the most onerous US beer restrictions left…

    Next on the list? Legalize homebrewing. Residents are doing it in the state in clear unrepentant violation of the law. Perhaps it’s time to open one more freedom.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — May 14, 2009 @ 3:05 pm
  3. [...] also meeting at the the J.Clyde, which has been very supportive of the Free the Hops legislation we’ve been working so hard on in [...]

    Pingback by The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Liberty + Libations = ??? — May 15, 2009 @ 11:44 am

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