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LETTER: Vote for direct to customer wine

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To the Editor:

It is a very rare occurrence when a piece of legislation is introduced offering to bring extra funds into the state. Senate Bill 114 does that very thing. There will be a hearing on a bill to allow direct-to-customer shipping of wine to our state in the near future. There are to date 41 states that allow direct-to-customer shipping, and South Dakota remains the only Midwest state that does not allow shipping. Private citizens have introduced a grass roots, incorporated organization, South Dakotans for Better Wine Laws.

They have worked hard over the last year to bring to South Dakotans the choice of all wines offered to their homes. There are more than 20,000 varieties of wine produced in the U.S., however only 17 percent are brought to your favorite wine stores by distributors. There are a variety of reasons distributors do not bring all varieties into the state. South Dakotans have the right to choice. South Dakota also deserves the revenue that will be produced by the legislation by way of fees from wineries and shipping and taxes on the wine. It has been estimated South Dakota will receive $160,000 to $200,000 in extra revenue the first year, which will go into the general fund.

The bill has strict shipping requirements prohibiting underage ordering, will not change the three-tier system of wine distribution in the state, will not change any current laws for state wineries and is only for DTC shipping of wine (not beer or liquor). A direct shipment of wine task force met throughout the fall to draft this bill and had participants from all types of businesses and organizations.

The bill was introduced by citizens of South Dakota, will bring extra revenue into the state, will not change laws covering South Dakota businesses, will give choice to South Dakotans and is the right thing to do. Let your legislator know this is the right bill for South Dakota by urging him/her to vote yes on SB 114.

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