'This is freedom': Texas House moves to expand alcohol sales on Sundays and at breweries

Under current state law, licensed retailers, such as convenience and grocery stores, can't sell wine or beer for off-premise consumption until noon on Sundays

Under current state law, licensed retailers, such as convenience and grocery stores, can't sell wine or beer for off-premise consumption until noon on Sundays

The Texas House voted Thursday to extend beer and wine sales on Sundays and to let craft breweries sell beer to go.

Those new expansions of alcohol sales were amendments to a broader bill regarding the efficiency and operations of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that must pass this legislative session in order to avoid shutting down the agency.

Both amendments were opposed by the bill’s author, state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall. Paddie still cast a vote for the legislation, which received preliminary passage along a 135-0 vote, though he noted that the bill was no longer "completely clean."

The bill will still need a final stamp of approval in the House before it can head to the Senate for consideration. Once it’s in the upper chamber, members there can tweak the legislation. That means the upper chamber could strip those two new amendments from the legislation. (Update: The House passed the bill on third reading Friday morning, sending it to the Senate.)

The two amendments proposed by state Reps. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, and Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, consumed most of the debate Thursday. Springer's amendment would allow beer and wine sales to begin at 10 a.m. instead of noon on Sundays in licensed retailers such as convenience and grocery stores. It passed in a 99-40 vote. In laying out his amendment, Springer said his motion would put wine and beer sales in line with what's currently allowed at on-premise consumption locations, such as restaurants and bars.

"We allow country clubs to sell mimosas at 10 a.m.," Springer said during the debate on the House floor.

He also said his proposal won't affect liquor stores, which aren't allowed to operate on Sundays.

The passage of Springer’s amendment was met with a chipper response from state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who exclaimed upon its passage: “This is freedom. This is eagles!”

The House narrowly approved Rodriguez's amendment allowing craft breweries to sell beer to go — something that’s already legal in every other state, the representative said Thursday evening.

His amendment produced more of a nail-biter in the chamber. Paddie initially moved to table the amendment, and it initially looked like he prevailed by a one-vote margin. But a verification vote later clarified that the amendment was actually favorable to a majority of House members.

“We have to make these changes for these small breweries to grow,” Rodriguez said. “Let’s vote for small businesses here in Texas. Let’s vote for beer to go.”

The House is expected to give HB 1545 a final vote on Friday.


MOST RECENT

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic. (Cherry He/Community Impact Newspaper)
Freestanding ERs in Texas can now care for Medicaid, Medicare patients during pandemic

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mimi Conner (right) unloads food from her car after picking up nonperishable foods from the North Texas Food Bank and purchasing foods from Aldi, with help from volunteer Michelle Leavitt. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
North Texas Food Bank says new donation will provide 300,000 meals for residents in need

The North Texas Food Bank received a $100,000 donation from online retailer Amazon as the nonprofit continues to provide meals for residents in need.

The state-run testing program is expected to return to other areas of Collin County on a rotating basis every two weeks, according to a May 14 release from Collin County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Expanded testing, population growth in Frisco and 3 other DFW-area stories

Here are five recent updates from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, on a butcher shop in Keller, expanded COVID-19 testing in Collin County and more.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Denton County. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
30th Denton County resident dies due to coronavirus, 17 new cases confirmed

Denton County Public Health announced May 22 that a Carrollton woman in her 60s has died due to COVID-19, bringing the county’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 30.

texas-reopening
LIST: What is open, closed in Texas and how businesses can operate

Texas openings are staggered with different opening dates and operating limits.

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers are to be tested for coronavirus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas to test all state hospitals, supported living centers for COVID-19

All patients, residents and staff at Texas' 23 state hospitals and supported living centers will be tested for coronavirus regardless of symptoms or exposure.

In a letter addressed to state agencies and higher education institutions, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen said the reduced budget comes in preparation to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on state finances expected to be felt in the coming months. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Budget cuts slated for Texas state agencies, higher education institutions in 2020-21 biennium

Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education to expect a 5% reduction in budget plans for the 2020-21 biennium as part of the state's response to the economic ramifications of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The populations of Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village experienced slight growth from 2018 to 2019, according to estimates released May 20 by the U.S. Census Bureau. (Courtesy Fotolia)
DATA: Census estimates show slight population growth in Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village

The populations of Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village experienced slight growth from 2018 to 2019, according to estimates released May 20 by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Here are the coronavirus updates to know in Denton County. (Community Impact staff)
29th Denton County resident dies due to coronavirus, 27 new cases confirmed

Denton County Public Health announced May 21 that another Denton County resident has died due to COVID-19, bringing the county’s total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 29.

Gov. Greg Abbott is waiving the late fee for Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission license and permit renewals that have lapsed since March 13, according to a May 20. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Abbott removes late-fee barrier for Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission license, permit renewal

Gov. Greg Abbott is allowing the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to waive the late fee for license and permit renewals that have lapsed since March 13, according to a May 20 press release.

McKinney took its place among large cities in the nation with the fastest-growing population. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
MAY 21 ROUNDUP: Latest census data from DFW-area cities

Read the latest census data for Dallas-Fort Worth-area cities here.