Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Byzantine Bureaucracy to Drive One to Drink

So here's how this works. A chamber of the NH General Court (House or Senate) passes a bill. It then proceeds to the other body to consider, where any ultimately approved version may be an amended version. Well, the first body then gets to form its own opinion of that change, so back it goes. That chamber can do one of 3 things: it can concur or it can reject (in either case, we're done), or it can request a "Committee of Conference," where hand-picked representatives of each body attempt to hash out a compromise. If they do, then the House and Senate each separately deliberate on that version. 'Course, the initial "Committee of Conference" request could be rejected, too, in which case, again, we're done.

Anyway, that thus and herewith convened "Committee of Conference," 6/18/2013, is where we now sit with HB253, "relative to limitations on sales by nano breweries for consumption on the premise," which in its original form would have "allowed" nano-brewers (technically tiny breweries, and not necessarily tiny brewers) to sell their product to willing customers with less contractual interference from state nannies. Gosh, you'd think "No State shall ... pass any ... Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts" ought to take care of that, wouldn't ya...?

See, back in May, the Senate, lead by their Commerce Committee, which in turn was lead by restaurateur (and my former, until he moved after redistricting specifically so he had a better chance of continuing to be a) Senator Andy Sanborn, decided all those pesky potential nano-breweries giving beer lovers what they desire and adding to the burgeoning beverage culture of NH could well cramp the profits of the existing-and-connected protectionist big-money special interests -- including the state's own monopoly Liquor Commission. That wouldn't be "fair." Couldn't have that, now could we?

So the Senate decided that those hopeful very-small-businessmen should have to open a restaurant, too. You know how much it costs (including for compliance with even more state regulatory contracts interference) to add a restaurant you didn't want in the first place onto your "following-a-dream-shoestring-in-a-garage" business? State don't care. State's got meddling to do. State's got cronies to protect. Who do ya think runs this place, anyway?

Here's the "fair" solution for ya, Senator Sanborn: Get rid of the onerous state-monopoly 3-tier system! Let a competitive free market decide, rather than the self-interested, unelected, regimented buzz-cut bureaucrats on the Liquor Commission. Stop attempting to micromanage the economy! How 'bout letting their customers decide what they want instead of their government?

All that being said -- and MAJOR props to activist Kevin Bloom --  we appear to be headed for a substantively better "compromise" bill than was anticipated -- unlike for medical marijuana, unfortunately...

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