Governor O’Malley signed boatloads of bills on Tuesday but the wine shipping bill (HB 1175) and the alcohol tax-hike bill (SB 994) don’t seem to be on the list (click on the April 12, 2011 link). I haven’t heard anything about the gov not planning to sign those two — maybe he has a double secret ceremony set for this week.
To recap, the wine bill allows Maryland wineries and out-of-state wineries to ship direct to us Marylanders — but third party wine discounters like Wine Spies (NYT has more on the phenomenon, h/t Steve) are still barred. Baby steps. And whatever wine (and any other booze) you buy, you will pay 9% tax instead of 6%, first raise in many moons. Lots more context on these bills from the Gazette.
- More legislative news from Annapolis: in addition to the aforementioned HB 1175 that would allow us Maryland folk to have wine shipped to our homes direct from out-of-state wineries (but not from retailers or other third parties), a similar bill passed the Senate this week (SB 248). The bills are not quite identical but I’m sure there will be no trouble reconciling them and sending off to O’Malley for signature. Like the Dodgers of old, we will just have to wait ’til next year for a more expansive attempt at allowing third-party shipments. I don’t think these bills will hurt Maryland liquor distributors or retailers at all — I already buy my wine in DC or Virginia because the Maryland selection is so poor.
- Meanwhile, SB 994 would raise Maryland’s alcohol sales tax by three percent, gradually over the next three years. Okay by me; Matt Yglesias (among others) has made good concise arguments why. The bill has been approved by committee and awaits Senate action before heading Assemblyward. Senator Madaleno, who represents Wheaton et al., is among the co-sponsors.
- Just Up The Pike has another good long discussion of redevelopment in Wheaton.
- It’s tough to find a great butcher around here, but that may change soon, reports the Washingtonian Best Bites Blog. Helloooo Red Apron! And might I suggest Wheaton as one of your local salumi spots?
- Todd Kliman’s Washingtonian chat yesterday featured a long question about “feeling nervous about the health of various neighborhood joints” in the context of, among others, the effect the opening of Limerick Pub may have on the Royal Mile Pub. Like me, the commenter thinks Limerick has potential but isn’t RM quality yet. I’m confident they can both do well, if the food quality is strong. Kliman answered the question without further Wheaton content. He later recommended El Pollo Rico for Peruvian chicken, and another commenter is taking a multigenerational group to Nava Thai.
- In the Gazette, Bernice August reviews Rockville’s Joe’s Noodle House, still my preferred local Chinese haunt. More Gazette, on Silver Spring’s proliferating food trucks (Wheaton has several too), although Silver Spring, Singular beat them to it.
Whew. Enough? More than.