Tell U.S. Trade Rep. Froman: Stop Fast-Tracking the TPP

froman.175-x-200.insideAs negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) reportedly near completion, the Obama administration is ramping up calls for a dangerous “fast track” process that would allow the president to sign the bill before Congress can read the final text. The massive free trade agreement is set to be a giant threat to American democracy and sovereignty. The secret trade negotiating process lacks transparency, and the agreement could give multinational corporations the ability to sue a government over policies the corporation thinks is unfair. If alcohol is not exempt from its provisions, the TPP will allow corporations to undermine alcohol regulation and negatively impact public health and safety in the U.S. Send President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Froman a message: Don't sell out public health. Exclude alcohol from TPP provisions. Don't fast-track the TPP.



Tell Governor Brown to Veto SB 31--NO Alcohol Ads Outside Stadiums

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Senator Alex Padilla's SB 31 will allow large, flashing alcohol displays on public property outside sports stadiums, visible to residents and passing motorists.

California State Senator Alex Padilla's Senate Bill 31 would allow beer, wine, and spirits ads to blight public property, and subject Los Angeles residents and passing motorists to bright, flashing billboards and other displays in the vicinity of sports arenas and stadiums. The Padilla bill undermines years of work by community and public health activists to eliminate alcohol advertising on public property in L.A. Exposure to alcohol advertising leads youth to drink earlier and more often, and alcohol-related harm already costs California $38 billion annually. Tell Governor Brown to take a stand for public health and veto SB 31.

       Press Release       Action Alert




Costco Continues Deregulation Push in WA

In 2011, retailer giant Costco shattered single-donor campaign contribution records in Washington State by spending more than $22 million to pass Initiative 1183 - legislation that privatized state liquor sales and allowed grocery stores to sell spirits. The privatization of alcohol sales has undoubtedly led to more alcohol-related harm in Washington: data shows that privatization leads to more alcohol consumption, more binge drinking, and more deaths per year. The only upside of passing I-1183 was that it at least contained a 17% tax on all sales - money that is sorely needed to pay for the extra costs of alcohol-related harm to society. Costco added this fee to the language when it became clear that voters would not otherwise approve an initiative that both increased alcohol availability and decreased government resources to address the consequences. Without the fee, the state of Washington would have been left with a revenue gap of hundreds of millions of dollars lost from state liquor store profits.

Unsurprisingly, Costco is not content to pay any part of the tax burden on their new product channel. In an attempt to squeeze out every last penny of profit at the expense of Washington residents, they are now petitioning the legislature to pass a special bill that would exempt them from paying the 17% fee on sales directly to restaurants. The proposed legislation, Second Special House Bill 1161, would cost the state tens of millions of dollars in revenue at a time that it is desperately trying to find more money to pay for tougher drunk driving laws and other critical public health programs. Additionally, 2SHB 1161 would unfairly tilt the playing field in Costco's favor, putting the retail behemoth at an advantage over other private retail distributors and potentially putting a thousand jobs at risk.

Costco's willingness to blatantly subvert the democratic process by buying its way into legislation has put them on public health's bad side for several years now. But Costco's latest attempt to end-run the citizens of Washington by removing the very tax mechanism that convinced voters to approve privatization in the first place represents whole new heights of deceit and greed.



NTSB Issues Recommendations to Eliminate Drunk Driving

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently issued a recommendation to reduce the illegal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) per se limit from .08 to .05 or lower in the U.S. to save lives and prevent injuries. The recommendation would bring the U.S. standard in line with more than 100 nations including Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, South Africa, and Spain. In 2011, 9,878 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in the U.S., accounting for 31% of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities nationwide. More than 180,000 people were injured, and drunk driving crashes now cost America $130 billion annually. Alcohol Justice stands with the NTSB in supporting the recommended limit change as an important step to save lives and prevent alcohol-related harm.