Oppose California SB 778

a-smirnoff-party-adAcross the country, Big Alcohol spends huge sums of money on marketing, including sponsorship of brand-related sweepstakes and contests, to increase alcohol sales and consumption. California has managed to keep some of this alcohol promotion at bay through state code that does not allow any premium, gift, or free goods in connection with the sale or distribution of any alcoholic beverages. Not surprisingly, Big Alcohol entities including the Wine Institute, Diageo, and DISCUS are trying to dismantle these protections with Senate Bill 778, introduced by Padilla (D-San Fernando Valley). You can help protect the health and safety of California residents and visitors by telling lawmakers to say NO to SB 778.    Take Action Now.        


Nebraska Policymakers Overturn State Supreme Court Ruling on Alcopops

AlcopopsLast month the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that flavored malt beverages, also known as alcopops, are distilled spirits and should be classified and taxed as such, instead of the beer tax rate the state has been using. The ruling meant 12 times more alcopops tax revenue for the budget-beleaguered state, and less access to alcopops for youth, whom producers target with these products.

A ruling like that should have policymakers celebrating, wouldn’t you think? After all, their responsibility is to serve the health and welfare of the public they represent, along with keeping a balanced budget for the state. Or is it? Just one month after the ruling, state legislators effectively overturned the Nebraska Supreme Court’s decision with LB 824. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman approved the legislation April 6. The new law keeps the status quo intact: taxing alcopops at the beer rate and keeping the products available wherever beer is sold.
LB 824 is also a slap in the face to public health advocates who have been fighting for more sensible regulation of these dangerous products for years. Diane Riibe, Executive Director of the nonprofit Project Extra Mile, said of the bill: "In a day where our state is facing a budget shortfall in the millions, giving any industry a tax break seems most unwise, especially when that tax break is on a product that harms our children. The Legislature voted to protect business interests over kids. It's an extremely sad day for our children. We hope for a day when our policy makers are ready to have a real and valid conversation about the public health of ourchildren."
It's no surprise to see certain legislators going out of their way to please the powerful alcohol industry lobby at the expense of the communities they are supposed to represent. However, we don't often see a legislature deliberately override the state supreme court in order to make alcohol companies happy. Welcome to the Doghouse, Nebraska Legislature and Governor Heineman.

Brazil Bill Forcing World Cup Alcohol Sales Progresses

WCBrasilIn Brazil, where FIFA has demanded that the sovereign nation change its laws to allow alcohol sales during the 2014 World Cup, the Congressional commission has voted in favor of a bill that forces the sale of alcohol at World Cup matches. The vote comes after widespread outcry over FIFA’s attempts to dictate the reversal of public-safety laws prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages in soccer stadiums, in the name of increased profits for FIFA and one of its main sponsors, Anheuser-Busch InBev. "FIFA wants to have powers in Brazil which it is not entitled to, as a private company,” stated federal congressman and former World Cup-winning striker Romario de Souza Faria. Now that the bill has been approved by committee, it must be passed by the lower house and the senate before before being signed into law. Click here for Alcohol Justice's press release.