A citizen-led petition met the signature requirement needed for the city of Pearland to potentially allow entertainment businesses, or businesses that make more than 51% of their revenue in alcohol sales, to come to the city.
“With the huge submission of signatures from dozens of local businesses and hundreds of residents, Pearland has sent a powerful message that it wants the chance to vote on our economic and entertainment future,” Council Member Luke Orlando told the Community Impact Newspaper via email. “Both supporters and opponents of the 51% Rule deserve to finally decide this question at the ballot box.”
The Pearland Entertainment and Beverage Coalition, the organization in charge of circulating the petition, needed to garner 15,050 signatures in 60 days, PEBC Chair Seth Thompson told Community Impact Newspaper. When it turned in the petition July 20, it had approximately 18,000 signatures, Thompson said.
The PEBC’s goal is to get the measure on a ballot for Pearland citizens to vote on changing the restriction, which according to Texas Constitution Article XVI Section 20 is the only way the change can be made.
The PEBC hopes it can be put on the November ballot; however, it will first need to go through Pearland City Council and be approved by the council members to get on the ballot. Thompson said he hopes it can be discussed by Pearland City Council as soon as August.
“The whole point of the commission was to get this on the ballot so that the citizens of Pearland could vote on the future of their city,” Thompson said. “We’re one of the largest communities in the area, and we feel that we are losing sales tax revenue to other communities in the area because we have this restriction in place.”
The petition is currently undergoing a verification process. According to Section 501.032 of the Texas Election Code, the city cannot call for an election on a Local Option Election until or after the 30th day of the date a petition is filed.
The Petition for a Local Option Election was filed on July 20, so the verification will be done before Aug. 19, Pearland Director of Communications Joshua Lee told Community Impact Newspaper in an email.
“We’re proud of our efforts and appreciative of the support of the community,” Thompson said.