Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Legislators discuss bill to allow Sunday liquor sales
Some critics of the bill say that abolishing the restrictions on Sunday liquor sales lays the path for grocery stores to also begin selling liquor.
As the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee took up a bill that would allow liquor sales on Sundays, one committee member raised concerns about whether the legislation could make it easier for minors to access alcohol.
During Tuesday’s hearing on House Bill 421, which would allow for Sunday liquor sales to be expanded beyond beer and wine, state Rep. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, grilled Distilled Spirits Council spokesman Dale Szyndrowski about the potential for expanding liquor sales to grocery stores. Some critics of the bill say that abolishing the restrictions on Sunday liquor sales lays the path for grocery stores to also begin selling liquor.
“My concern is access to minors,” Gutierrez said during the hearing. “It’s a hell of lot easier to steal a little pint of alcohol, than a six-pack of beer.”
Szyndrowski said that although “market conditions may change in 15 or 20 years,” he does not see liquor expansion to grocery stores happening soon in Texas.
HB 421, filed by Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, would abolish the state’s “blue laws” limiting alcohol sales on Sundays and extend liquor sales by an hour both in the morning and the evening on Monday through Thursday, allowing sales from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
In addition to Szyndrowski, representatives from the Texas Hospitality Association and Total Wine and More testified Tuesday in favor of the bill. The Package Store Association testified against the bill, arguing that the cost of staying open on Sunday would eat up any sales and push out mom-and-pop liquor stores. Kevin Sanders, owner of Paradise Liquors in Denton County, spoke against the bill, arguing that it does not protect small businesses but instead "supports out of state and international companies."
The bill was left pending in committee.
Pegasus News Content partner - The Texas Tribune