Maryland has been at the forefront of beer reform news given its passage of the controversial HB 1283 beer bill last year (which was criticized by many craft brewers), as well as a newly-proposed reform package that would substantially liberalize the state's beer laws. Many reform advocates are cautious about the new bill's chances of passage, however, given past experiences of stalled reform efforts in the state. Liz Murphy of Naptown Pint has been extensively covering the Maryland beer and politics scene, and her latest article traces the money in Maryland beer politics--particularly for the key state legislators who seem most resistant to reforming the state's beer laws:
"There is one question I got asked following last year’s legislative embarrassment around House Bill 1283 more often than anything else — either packaged directly as such, or as an inquisitive or snarky aside:
What happens when you “follow the money” in Maryland politics and the brewing industry?
It’s a topic I’ve researched periodically, but it’s always been one I’ve approached with an overabundance of caution...
As I mentioned at the start of this, campaign contributions can be a tricky topic, because the “why” behind a contribution is not explained in these records — only the fact that these contributions exist.
That said, the presence of these contributions makes it difficult to take the claims of above-board legislative dealings at face value.
Because while Maryland brewers have recently formed their own PAC to begin contributing to candidates that support their cause, at the time events surrounding HB 1283 began to unfold, Maryland brewers seem to [be] the only party not donating any money.
Yet they somehow are also the only ones being targeted with punitive legislation, as well as combative posturing and demeaning comparisons to children."
The entire article is well worth a read.