Washington, D.C. 06/01/2023 – Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) today congratulates Oklahoma on enacting Senate Bill 796 that will help agents better enforce wine being shipped to residents. Signed by Governor Kevin Stitt, SB 796 amends Oklahoma’s wine shipping law by providing penalties for common carriers who fail to file quarterly reports on alcohol shipments to residents or knowingly deliver alcohol to residents without obtaining a signature at time of delivery or to those who are under the age of 21. Additionally, the bill requires more detailed and more frequent reports from entities holding a direct wine shipper permit.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Bill Coleman (Ponca City), advocated for these reporting provisions, as “vital to combat the dangers associated with direct-to-consumer shipments.” The bill’s co-author, Representative T.J. Marti (Broken Arrow), added that he “appreciated working with wholesalers on this issue and examining flaws in our state code to ensure that Oklahoma can identify and pursue enforcement action against unlicensed, unscrupulous actors who ship illegally to consumers, harming public safety.”
Common carrier reporting laws require common carriers to report all shipments of alcohol shipped directly to a consumer (DTC) to the state regulator. In doing so, carrier reports not only help state regulators understand what is contained in the legal shipments coming into their state, but also provide regulators with data to identify and pursue enforcement actions against illegal alcohol shippers.
“DTC alcohol shipping introduces a number of public safety concerns into a state’s marketplace, alongside a loss in state tax revenue and undercuts local businesses,” said WSWA Vice President, State Affairs Chelsea Crucitti. “WSWA supports enforcement mechanisms, such as common carrier reporting, to help differentiate between legal and illegal shipments of beverage alcohol, and I applaud Oklahoma for this bill’s expedient passage through the state capitol.”
OK SB 796 does not expand allowable shipments to consumers, but rather enhances the good work being done to protect from illegal alcohol shipments to Oklahomans. The state legislature previously enacted language requiring common carriers to report quarterly, and direct wine shippers annually, on shipments of wine sent to consumers. SB 796 adds to this reporting language to ensure more detailed information is shared with the state’s ABLE Commission from direct shippers and provide accountability for common carriers from providing alcohol to minors.
“Senate Bill 796 protects the state of Oklahoma from costly lost state tax revenue as illegal shippers tend to dodge state laws and avoid tax remittance requirements,” said President of Oklahoma’s Institute for Responsible Alcohol Policy, Samantha Guinn. “Identifying these shipments are not only good for public health and safety, but to protect and promote law-abiding industry members throughout the state of Oklahoma who are undercut by such illegal shipments.”