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La. homebrew legislation

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 12:51 pm
by BayouBrew
Legislation dealing with homebrewing beer has been introduced. As in every state, the La. Alcohol and Tobacco Control Law states that you cannot manufacture or distribute alcohol without a license or paying taxes. However, most states have language listing homebrewing up to a certain level (usually the federally approved level) as an exception. Unfortunately, the Louisiana law has no such exception. Our only protection has been a State Supreme Court case from 1944 that overturned a conviction dealing with 4 bottles of homebrew.

HB503 (http://www.legis.state.la.us/billdata/streamdocument.asp?did=684299) has been filed and this bill makes homebrewing explicitly legal up to 100 gallons for a single adult or 200 gallons per year for a two adult household. This bill also makes it legal to transport and serve homebrewed beer up to certain levels at festivals, conferences, competitions, club meetings, and even just going to a friend’s house. We feel that this legislation is vital to create an environment where the hobby can grow in this state.

The legislative session begins on Monday, March 29th, and the bill has been assigned to the Judiciary Committee. What we need to do now is to let the members of the Committee know that we feel that this bill is important and should be read by the Committee and approved for a full House vote. To do this, we all need to contact the Judiciary Committee chair, Rep. Cedric Richmond, and recommend that HB503 be added to the Committee agenda at their earliest meeting. Of secondary importance, contacting other members of the Committee will also be helpful by letting them know that we support this bill. Phone calls to the Representatives’ secretary during normal business hours are most effective. The phone calls are quick and easy, and should include a statement in your own words mentioning that you would like to see the bill on the agenda at the Committee’s earliest meeting and that you support approval of the bill for a floor vote. I will keep everyone updated about our progress as well as when to contact their representatives for the next step.

It is up to us to help move HB503 through the process, so please take a few minutes to place these calls and encourage anyone who you think would be supportive to do the same. Out of state calls are not effective, so let’s limit this to voters in Louisiana.

Judiciary Committee Members
Cedric Richmond (504)242-4198, larep101@legis.state.la.us
Neil Abramson (504)275-8051, abramson@legis.state.la.us
Patrick Connick (504)371-0240, connickp@legis.state.la.us
John Bel Edwards (985)748-2245, edwardsj@legis.state.la.us
Franklin Foil (225)342-6777, foilf@legis.state.la.us
A B Franklin (337)491-2320, franklina@legis.state.la.us
Rickey Hardy (337)262-2598, hardyr@legis.state.la.us
Joe Harrison (800)935-2081, harrisoj@legis.state.la.us
Walker Hines (504)756-4675, hinesw@legis.state.la.us
Rosalind Jones (318)362-5476, jonesr@legis.state.la.us
Walt Leger III (504)556-9970, legerw@legis.state.la.us
Nick Lorusso (504)483-4711, larep094@legis.state.la.us
Nickie Monica (985)652-1228, monican@legis.state.la.us
M.J. "Mert" Smiley, Jr. (225)698-9694, larep088@legis.state.la.us
Ledricka Johnson Thierry (337)948-0369, thierryl@legis.state.la.us
Mack "Bodi" White, Jr. (800)408-9764, larep064@legis.state.la.us

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:17 pm
by yeastmeister
Glad to see it got changed prior to being filed. Looks good, and will have our support. I agree that everyone needs to make sure that the representatives know we want it passed.

I've been communicating with the AHA as well on this one, and I agree with them that while this isn't the best we had hoped for, its in line with whats been passed in other states. The AHA believes that since this bill has the wholesalers organization on board as well, its got a very good chance of passing with no problems. Expect an AHA mobilization on this as well.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:34 pm
by BayouBrew
Glad to hear that you support it. It would take to long to write the reasons why the bill isn't more than what it is, but if you want to give me a call I would be happy to give you the details. I took the best things from every state's law and incorporated it into the proposal, but it got whittled down to this. That being said, I feel that it is a good thing and that we have a good chance for success. If not I will slink off into the darkness with my illegal homebrew.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:41 pm
by yeastmeister
There's the rub. The next time someone tells you that homebrewing is illegal in Louisiana, ask them to show you the statute that makes it so. Its not currently illegal, its not defined. I'm sure that the ATC is telling you different, but its not so.

If this passes, it won't effectively change anything. Its never been illegal, so this can't really make it more legal.

I understand that in your specific case, you need to be able to show someone its legal on paper. I always used the reverse, and asked them to show that it wasn't legal.

PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:05 pm
by BayouBrew
I hate to belabor the point, but a lack of a statute specifically prohibiting homebrewing doesn't make it legal. Here comes the statute. Part I, Section 71, Paragraph A of the 2010 Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Law reads:

"Except as provided in Subsections B and C of this Section,
before engaging in the business of manufacturing, supplying, or dealing
in alcoholic beverages, all persons shall obtain from the commissioner,
according to established rules and regulations, an annual permit to
conduct each separate business and shall pay the commissioner therefor
according to the following schedule"...

In laymans terms it says that you need a license to produce alcohol and you have to pay taxes on it which means that if you don't it is illegal since subsections B and C mentioned above don't say anything about homebrewing. Most states have a specific exception for homebrewing beer as does the federal law. The 3 states that the AHA recognizes as having laws that make homebrewing illegal are Mississippi, Alabama, and Oklahoma. Mississippi's law has an exception for wine but not beer. Oklahoma has exceptions for wine and cider but not beer. Alabama has the strongest anti-homebrewing law which states that prohibits the possession of illegally manufactured alcoholic beverages. Louisiana doesn't have exceptions for homemade beer, wine, cider, or mead. The only reason that La. isn't listed as one of the "illegal states" is that we have a state supreme court ruling from 1944 which overturned the conviction of an individual who was prosecuted for having 4 bottles of homebrew. That's not strong enough for me. I agree that if passed this won't effectively change anything since to my knowledge no one has been prosecuted for homebrewing in a long time, but why not get some protection on the books?

I know that this is a long way off since we don't have anyone who would organize such a thing, but I do know from Gary Glass that we could never have an NHC conference in La. under the current laws. Some people may say if it ain't broke don't fix it, but I say you have to constantly fight to keep what you want. Many passive groups have seen legislation pile up against them in the past and now that they are finally getting active about it they find themselves fighting an uphill battle.

I understand where you are comming from and I respect your opinion, I just disagree with you interpretation. Whew, rant over, who wants a hug?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:53 am
by aleguy
Wow! Of course I personally support passage of realistic home brew legislation, as I believe all our members most likely do. That having been said, I must point out that we can not legally support it as a club. The Dead Yeast Society itself must maintain a strict policy of "No Comment" regarding this bill. I'm not even sure if it's officers can be seen to openly support it.
I believe that the information on the bill is both educational and beer-related, and it is probably OK to have on our public forum. But I would rather not endanger our legal status over this. I would, however, like to know what the limits for carrying are, as I believe there is no stated limit in the Federal law, and any such limits may impinge on our ability to participate in charity events such as Gulf Brew. (The link won't work for me.)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:17 am
by yeastmeister
Correct. As a non profit, the DYS cannot take a stand. Individual members can as long as they represent themselves as homebrewers, and do not represent themselves as the DYS or management thereof.

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 7:56 pm
by Charlie
HB1484 passed the House yesterday with 84 yeas and 3 nays. It has been sent to the Senate where it will be assigned to one of the 3 Judiciary committees. We do not know which one as yet.

Three reps, Pope (Denham Springs), Richardson (BTR) and Wooton (Belle Chase) voted "nay". I'm not sure what they have against us.

The current bill is the result of BB's efforts and the constructive criticism of Yeastmeister, Charlie Milan and Tom Daigrepont (of Red Stick). As originally submitted the bill would have limited the amount of brew that one could transport to a meeting or event. This was a sticking point, and the lawyers took it completely out of the revised bill. HB1484 (the revised version of HB503) has no restrictions on the transport of homebrew, and virtually no restrictions on its serving beyond observing state and federal alcohol regs, and requesting a _*FREE*_ 3 day permit!

The bill will soon be with one of the three Senate committees who will vote it down, amend it, or pass it to the senate for ratification. I am asking for you to support this bill, and help us get it out of committee and to the general Senate for a vote. If this thing passes Louisiana will have the most liberal homebrew regulations in the nation! And we can thank all of the above mentioned people for that. Their names will shine!

What this bill means for us, in practical terms, is that we can legally participate in beer festivals such as the Shreveport Brew Fest where MMMM served 45 gallons of homebrew (we hope to do better this year). It also means that Louisiana can once again host such events as Bluebonnet and Dixie Cup. I can only imagine the cultural and economic impact of these festivals on Dallas and Houston, but I suspect that both are positive and enormous!

Please support this bill. I'm tired of reading about Louisiana being first in the bad things and last in the good things. If this bill passes we will be first in a very good thing.

Charlie

PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 2:10 pm
by Charlie
This just in....

HB1484 which passed the House on May 25th has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary B committee. We do not know when it will be on the committee's agenda, but they generally meet on Tuesdays. Hopefully it will be on the agenda within the next couple of weeks. Below are the names of the committee members and their contact information. Please take the time to contact the committee members requesting that HB1484 be placed on the agenda as soon as possible and that it be passed to the full Senate for debate. Now would also be a good time to contact your local Senator as they may be able to encourage the committee to pass the bill as well.

Senator Daniel Martiny (Chairman) (504) 834-7676 martinyd@legis.state.la.us
Senator David Heitmeier (Vice-Chairman) (504) 361-6356 heitmeid@legis.state.la.us
Senator John A. Alario, Jr. (504) 340-2221 alarioj@legis.state.la.us
Senator Norby Chabert (985) 858-2927 chabertn@legis.state.la.us
Senator Lydia P. Jackson (318) 676-7029 jacksonl@legis.state.la.us
Senator Eric LaFleur (337) 363-5019 lafleure@legis.state.la.us
Senator Karen Carter Peterson (504) 568-8346 petersonk@legis.state.la.us

Thank you for your efforts in supporting this bill.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:42 am
by yeastmeister
ASSIGNED TO SENATE JUDICIARY B
Scheduled to be heard on 6/8/2010

Currently Scheduled to start at 9:00 a.m.

Video feed should be here:
http://www.legis.state.la.us/video/video.asp?roomid=4

Should also mention, that expect it to be boring, this bill is the last one of the day.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:02 pm
by yeastmeister
Passed to the full Senate with no objections. The action takes place at roughly 31:05 in this archived video.
http://senate.legis.state.la.us/Video/2010/June/060810JUDB.asx

It was actually amazing that there was zero debate of the bill, the only discussion was to a slight amendment that has nothing to do with homebrew.

I talked to the parties at the table shortly afterwards, and they were also surprised it passed without comment.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:08 pm
by triple-oh_six
So, that's it? This bill has officially passed?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:58 am
by BayouBrew
No, it has to go to the full Senate for vote now. Then it has to go back to the House to vote on the amendments. If they accept them it goes to the governor, if not it goes to a conference committee. Either way it has to be done by the 21st.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 5:39 am
by yeastmeister
Looks like the full Senate may vote on it late today. Its on the schedule.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:10 pm
by yeastmeister
May be voted on tomorrow. Its 14 from being heard today, and they are moving on. So, probably tomorrow.