Many of you probably saw last week’s Baltimore Sun article in which Senator Joan Carter Conway, chair of the committee that hears alcohol bills, went on the record saying that the wine shipping bill “is not going anywhere” despite having a majority of her own committee and both chambers supporting the legislation.
Did this make you angry? Some of our other members got pretty upset. Here’s what they had to say:
“To stop a bill from being voted on is to dishonor democracy.”
“I am truly concerned that you only represent the interests of liquor distributors, whose pockets must certainly be deep.”
“As one of her constituents, Monday’s story about Sen. Joan Carter Conway’s opposition to the direct wine shipping legislation infuriated me. It is inherently wrong and undemocratic that a bill with 108 of 188 legislators’ signatures is being held in a drawer by the committee chair when six of nine of her committee members are co-sponsors … As a voter in the Free State, Chairwoman Conway’s refusal to allow this bill to have a vote in her committee is a slap in the face to Maryland’s legislative process … she has already lost my vote in the upcoming election; how many more will she lose from taking this stand?”
How has Senator Conway responded to this outrage?
“For the record, we have very few e-mails from her constituents regarding wine shipment. Many of her e-mails from her constituency are regarding concerns about education, health care assistance, etc.”
“Sen. Conway … has only 75 letters from her constituents that are in support of the Direct Wine Shipment bill, which is a negligible amount of support from her district.”
“The bill has to rotate out of the House first. It is the understanding that the bill will not come out of the House. This means there is no reason for the Senate to act on the bill…”
Meanwhile, she is happy to sponsor a bill that would beneficially alter a liquor license in a district not even her own (SB120) and one relating to insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization that “Conway said she introduced … after receiving a request from one couple who lives in her district.” (SB27) Literally, “I wrote it for that one person who brought it to my attention.” (Baltimore Sun, 2/15) Why is she so responsive to these other narrow interests and not the thousands of Marylanders who want legalized wine shipping?
Senator Conway has given us clear marching orders: GET THE BILL OUT OF THE HOUSE! Please click on the following link to send a message to House ECM chair and vice-chair Dereck Davis and David Rudolph to encourage them to take the leadership Senator Conway has been lacking:
Email Chairman Davis & Vice-Chair Rudolph
Lastly, we need more help getting the word out to all parts of the state. Please email me if you would be willing to contact some of your fellow citizens from our membership roles to urge them to contact their officials.
Now is crunch time! Our hearing is March 5th, and all hands are needed on deck.
Marylanders for Better Beer & Wine Laws
4315 Underwood Road
Baltimore, MD 21218
Tel: (443) 570-8102