Delaware wine/beer sales bill tabled

Well, that didn't last long.

A bill just introduced in the Delaware state legislature that would allow supermarkets to sell beer and wine (see earlier story) has been tabled by a House committee.

House Bill 193, sponsored by Rep. John J. Viola, D-Newark, would have made Delaware the 46th state to allow stores other than package stores to sell beer and wine. He said the licensing fee -- $100,000 for the first year and a $5,000 biennial renewal fee -- could have raised up to $10 million the first year “and substantial revenues after that.”

However, Siobhan Sullivan, director of the state Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement, told the committee the division would have to hire 12 new agents at a cost of $700,000 to enforce the bill.

DelawareOnline reported that Viola, who chairs the committee, wasn't happy with being unable to fend off the vote to table. Had that happened, he said, he would have been able to address the arguments against it “backed up by data and facts.”

The bill also was opposed by package-store owners, who packed the House chamber for the hearing. Tabling makes it unlikely it will be considered before the June 30 adjournment deadline.

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