Alabama’s hops are almost freeby Stephen Gordon
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.