Partly so readers can feel my pain, as it were, from reading through all of the legislation passing through the General Assembly, I’d like to direct your attention to H8068, which my Freedom Index description characterizes as follows:
to allow wine producers and distributors and gift-basket retailers to ship a limited amount of wine to residential consumers in Rhode Island, with licensing and other requirements
Mainly out of a sense of relief that any legislation would expand what businesses can do, I marked the bill as a positive, but it’s instructive, nonetheless, for a negative reason. Consider that the bill creates a new $200 “gift basket license” that allows the sale of gift baskets that “may include”:
(1) A maximum of four (4) bottles of wine per basket;
(2) Food items;
(3) Non-alcoholic beverages;
(4) Concentrates used in the preparation of mixed alcoholic beverages;
(5) Wine-making kits and products related to wine-making kits;
(6) Ice in any form;
(7) Articles of clothing imprinted with advertising related to the alcoholic liquor industry or the permittee’s gift basket business;
(8) Flowers, plants and garden-related items;
(9) Drinking glasses, bottle opening devices and literature related to wine; or
(10) Gift certificates.
Those aren’t the only regulations, naturally. There are other rules for who can sell, who can buy, and where the sale can be done, as well as reporting requirements.
One would hope that even people who lean toward including government in most of what people do within the society would start to get a little squeamish when we get to the point of regulating what legal products go in a gift basket.