May 31, 2023
BETHESDA, MD – American Beverage Licensees (ABL) Executive Director John Bodnovich issued the following statement regarding the reintroduction of the USPS Shipping Equity Act:
“Locally licensed beer, wine and spirits retailers, who bear the responsibility of ensuring that alcohol is only sold to those who are 21 and older, remain steadfastly opposed to legislation that would sanction the shipping of alcohol by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS Shipping Equity Act (H.R. 3721) would endanger the Constitutional authority that provides states with regulatory oversight over alcohol sales and distribution, and would invariably increase instances of illegal alcohol shipping.
“Legislators have routinely rejected legislation to ship alcohol through the mail in previous Congresses, including over the nearly decade-long effort to secure broad, postal service reform. An amendment to include the USPS Shipping Equity Act in the bipartisan and successful Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, failed to secure even a vote from the House Oversight Committee.
“State alcohol regulators are steadily learning more about the serious problem of illegal alcohol shipping in the United States. They are taking steps to stop illegal shippers and to prevent counterfeit and tainted alcohol problems that are sadly more common in other countries. Creating another pathway for illegal alcohol shipping – especially one in which the shipper is not accountable to state alcohol regulatory actions due to its federal sovereignty – threatens to undermine the progress state officials are making in shutting down illegal alcohol shipping. It also jeopardizes what is the most vibrant alcohol marketplace in the world, where companies large and small can compete and thrive, and consumers are afforded a wider selection of products than ever before.
“With the U.S. Postal Service looking to cut costs to offset deepening losses, and facing serious mail delivery issues, now is not the time to ask its hardworking employees to take on the task of complying with 50 sets of state alcohol shipping laws. Beverage licensees encourage members of Congress to reflect on the negative implications this legislation would have on the Constitutional authority vested in the states per the 21st Amendment, and the public safety risks it would create.
“With plenty of other challenges facing Main Street beverage businesses, we encourage members of Congress to refrain from supporting this legislation, and instead work on issues that bring together the beverage alcohol industry and those it serves.”