Will Wilson is a former GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alaska's anti-Alaskan wine laws have kept the sweet sauce bottled up. The state allows in-state wineries to ship to licensed distributors within the state -- but not to private citizens and not outside the state. Out-of-state wineries face no such restrictions.
Usually, states try to give themselves a competitive advantage. That was the case in Granholm v. Heald, in which the Supreme Court decided that Michigan (and other states) could not prohibit out-of-state wineries from shipping into Michigan while allowing in-state wineries to ship within the state. But Alaska puts itself at a competitive disadvantage. Would the Supreme Court ever say that a state can't shoot itself in the foot?
A bill that would change this anti-Alaskan winery stance is moving through the Alaska legislature, but similar bills have died in the past. Do Alaskan wine distributors (the only folks who could conceivably profit from this) have a particularly powerful state lobby? Or is the law a side effect of Alaska's "local option" approach to liquor regulation? Or perhaps those two possibilities are hybrid: do moonshiners within "dry communities" in Bush Alaska have a particularly powerful state lobby?
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.