National Conference of State Legislatures clarifies their official view of direct shipping


Since the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) continues to have its position on direct shipping interpreted wrongly across the country, they have sought to clarify it.  Recently, they have written to one attorney  asking for clarity to avoid stating that the the full NCSL had endorsed a wine model shipping legislation.  Click here for the letter.



NBWA decided to look under the hood at one of the facts used by alcohol deregulators in the Granholm and related cases.  It seemed very odd to us that the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a group dedicated to supporting state rights, would have an alleged action of that organization used AGAINST its member states.  Justice Kennedy actually seems to believe that the NCSL developed and passed the model bill drafted by the California wineries. He cited to it two times in the Granholm case.

Because one law firm continues to imply that the NCSL passed a model bill on winery direct shipping, we asked NCSL to clarify their position.  NCSL’s clarification is attached here.  I also wrote to the law firm and asked them to correct the record in other lawsuits and prevent further confusion on the NCSL activity. The letter is here.

The Supreme Court sometimes gets things wrong.  For example, last term they did not recognize an existing death penalty statute when they said there was none for child rape in Kennedy v. Louisiana.   Like that case, the Granholm court just got the facts wrong .  Next time the court takes this up, they will have the correct facts.

NCSL does have one official position that is relevant to this debate.  In its official policy statement on the internet and electronic commerce NCSL has a section on alcohol regulation.   This statement went through the proper rules and was endorsed by the entire NCSL.  It states in relevant part:  “Nothing in this policy statement is to be construed as limiting or affecting the right of any state to regulate alcohol according to its local norms and standards pursuant to the 21st Amendment.”   A link to this official NCSL position is here:,21,633#633

In full disclosure, the law firm disagrees  and provided this response.  To quote Strother Martin, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

Leave a Reply