Fine print costs: Illinois’ doggy bag wine law

Making, following, and monitoring rules costs time and energy, some of which is inefficiently spent. In 2006, Illinois passed a law allowing diners to take a half-full bottle of wine home from a restaurant. Now, in order to save $23 million in federal highway money, state legislators must take time away from some of the state’s most pressing issues to make a small revision that the wine must be carried in the trunk. From Crain’s Chicago Business:

The state law amended the Illinois open-container law, allowing diners to carry resealed bottles home in a special tamper-proof, one-use-only bag. The amendment passed by wide margins in the Illinois House and Senate and took effect last year.

However, (a U.S. Department of Transportation) letter says, the law failed to specify that the bottle has to be carried in the trunk or in the rear of the vehicle, in order to meet federal requirements. Illinois has 30 days to issue a rebuttal and show why its law does comply with federal requirements. The letter puts the state on notice that another 3% must be transferred next year unless the law is changed.

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Transportation says the state was “surprised by the letter and the stand they’re taking,” because federal authorities were notified about the change in the open-container law last year and no one “objected at the time.” The state is looking at amending the law or using regulations to make it clear that bottles must be carried in the trunk or rear section of a vehicle.

“We’re working on it,” the spokesman says. “We’re not concerned about losing funds.”

Hat tip: Kirk Hartley



4 Responses to “Fine print costs: Illinois’ doggy bag wine law”

  1. Jenn S. Says:

    In yet stranger Illinois legislative news, we have now passed a bill that will make it illegal to purchase a case of wine directly from an out-of-state vintner, as of June 1.

    Thereby, I will be forced to pay the obscene Chicago sales tax to buy all of my wine locally; my favorite small winery in NY will no longer get my business because they do not have a local distributor…AND all of the Illinois beverage distributors stand to gain handsomely, as they will now be in the middle of every wine purchase in the state. This is special interest-created legislation at its worst.

  2. Mike R. Says:

    I wanted to share my current encounter with this Illinois open container law. It does not pertain to wine, rather two empty beer bottles. While vacationing in Panama City Beach Florida, I found two empty discarded beer bottles in a parking lot. Me, being the outdoors nut, save the planet “green” guy, and the one that hates throwing anything out the window, picked them up to properly dispose of them in a garbage can. I placed both of them behind my driver’s seat of my two door vehicle. After returning home a week later, my vehicle was in an automobile crash with a drunk driver that didn’t recieve any fines due to his father being on the county board. My car went in for repairs and finally fixed one month later. I forgot all about the beer bottles at this point. I got pulled over by an Illinois State police officer for not having a front license plate (the bracket was still on order from the body shop!). He asked if he could search my vehicle, I said no, I have somewhere I need to be, I don’t have time to have my vehicle searched. I was asked to exit my vehicle, so I did so. He didn’t search my car or touch anything, but got down on his hands and knees with a flashlight, leaned into my vehicle by the driver’s floorboard and saw the bottles. I pursuaded to tell him the TRUTH. For some reason he didn’t believe me. I even asked to do the breathilizer to show that I hadn’t been drinking. He refused to let me do that. I was given a ticket for illegal transportation of alcohol. Several things that irritate me are me picking up the bottles. I should have just left them. Me getting hit by the drunk driver, and him NOT getting charged. The big-headed police officer that was persistant that my story was a lie. The fact that everybody in my town drinks and drives, and truck beds are full of empty bottles and empty cans that are thrown in the back when they’re consumed. I’ve recently learned that is 100% legal due to the fact that they’re not accessible by the driver, nor the passenger. So, in conslusion, a word to the wise, If you are a nice citizen like me who cares about Illinois, along with all of the other states like Florida, and you see empty beer bottles from partiers. Please pick them up and dispose of them properly, however, make sure you place them in the trunk of your car first.

  3. blafband Says:

    great post, i`ll subscribe to your blog! i really like your writing style..

  4. Robert Says:

    I understand the frustration. Our “doggy bags for wine” have Federal transportation instructions printed on the reverse side of the bag – including where the bag must be stored. These instructions not only inform the consumer, but they help limit the liability for the restaurant. Restaurants can order the wine-to-go bags at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: