House Bill 4557 will increase penalties, bring them in line with illegally shipped spirits
LANSING – The Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association today applauded the Michigan Senate for overwhelmingly approving House Bill 4557, which would increase the penalties for illegally shipping wine or beer into Michigan and bring those penalties in line with illegally shipping spirits into the state.
The legislation, which now awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature after passing the House in May, makes illegally shipping large amounts of wine or beer into the state punishable by a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000, and four years in jail depending on the amount shipped.
“These penalties will serve as a strong deterrent to unlicensed, bad actors that are illegally shipping millions of dollars worth of beer and wine into the state without paying state taxes,” said Spencer Nevins, president of the Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. “We applaud the Legislature for adding teeth to a statute that will make skirting state law a costly mistake.”
HB 4557 is a follow-up to Public Act 520 of 2016, which was signed into law by Gov. Snyder in January. The new law will help the state identify illegal shippers of alcohol by requiring common carriers, such as FedEx and UPS, to report to the state what was shipped and where it was purchased.
“This common-sense legislation, coupled with a law giving the state additional tools to monitor shipments of wine and beer into the state will create the framework and necessary fines to end illegal alcohol shipments into the state,” said Nevins. “We urge Gov. Snyder to swiftly sign this important legislation into law.”
A comprehensive study conducted by the Hill Group in 2015 found an estimated $64 million worth of wine is purchased from third parties and shipped illegally into the state annually, depriving the state of millions of dollars in much-needed tax revenue.