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Mass. Lawmakers Supporting Direct-To-Consumer Wine Shipment Legislation

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are backing a measure that would allow winemakers to ship their products directly to the state's consumers.

The House proposal was added as an amendment to the state's $36.2 billion state budget for the July 1 fiscal year.

Last year, former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who operates a winery in Washington state, came to the Statehouse to urge passage of a similar bill. Bledsoe said the state's ban on direct shipments made it nearly impossible to sell his wine in Massachusetts.

"It's a big deal, particularly for the small wineries around the country, of which I think there are about 8,000 wineries. Being able to ship new cases of wine direct to customers in a state like Massachusetts certainly makes a difference for some small wineries," Bledsoe said last March.

The state is one of about a dozen that bans or restricts direct wine shipments to consumers. State Representative Ted Speliotis has said that opponents fear direct shipping may effect small retailers and package stores.

The amendment must also pass the Senate and would need to be signed by Governor Patrick.

In 2005, then-Governor Romney vetoed a bill that would have allowed direct-to-consumer wine shipments in the state.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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