Legislative action applauded on illegal wine shipments as Gov. Snyder signs bills on human trafficking

The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association applauded the Michigan House for approving legislation on Dec. 15  to rein in illegal shipments of wine into the state. The bill, Senate Bill 1088, originally passed the Senate in October.

“We applaud the House for approving this legislation, which will provide the state with additional tools to crack down on illegal wine shipments into our state,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. “The measure also ensures Michiganders can still purchase the wines they love and have them shipped to their homes from wineries across the United States or a retailer right here in Michigan.”

Online wine retailers and so-called “wine clubs” have been illegally shipping wine into Michigan for years. A comprehensive study conducted by the Hill Group in 2015 found an estimated $64 million worth of wine is purchased from third parties and shipped illegally into the state annually, depriving the state of millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue.

Senate Bill 1088 would require common carriers that deliver alcoholic beverages into Michigan, such as FedEx or UPS, to report what was shipped and where it was purchased.
This reporting will allow for better tracking of illegal wine shipments into the state.

“This proposal puts a priority on confirming that wine shipments coming into Michigan are being shipped by a licensed winery, in accordance with the law,” said Nevins. “The legislation also brings the state into the 21st century by allowing third-party delivery apps to legally operate in the state. We urge the governor to sign this important legislation
and stop the flow of illegally shipped wine into Michigan.”

In other legislation, survivors of human trafficking will have heightened protections under legislation signed  Dec. 14  by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“These bills help strengthen and increase protections for survivors of human trafficking,” Snyder said. “By holding criminals accountable for their actions, we move one step closer toward stopping this dangerous threat.” 

House Bills 5542-5544, sponsored by state Reps. Laura Cox, Gary Howell and Nancy Jenkins, respectively, provide assistance to survivors of human trafficking by giving them resources to help support their recovery. The bills also increase penalties for those who commit crimes by coercing victims to engage in commercial sexual activity. The measures are now Public Acts 336-338 of 2016.