Would allow liquor stores to be open till 10p.m. weekdays
Texans have 66 hours during the week to buy bottled liquor under current law, but two bills filed this session could allow 10 more hours of shopping time by letting liquor stores stay open on Sundays.
State Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, who have both received campaign donations from alcohol lobbying groups, have filed companion bills, Senate Bill 236 and House Bill 421, that would abolish the state's "blue laws" limiting alcohol sales on Sundays. The bills would also 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.
Thompson "did not want any anti-consumer or anti-free-enterprise laws on the books," a staffer for the representative said on Wednesday.
By changing the state's Alcoholic Beverage Code, Texas could have reaped $7.4 million in general revenue funds for the 2012-13 biennium, according to a report released by the non-partisan Legislative Budget Board. In the past nine years, 14 states have repealed Sunday liquor bans.
On Sundays, Texans are allowed purchase beer and wine from noon to 9 p.m. It is also legal to purchase liquor by the drink at restaurants and bars, but not by the bottle. "We don't understand the equity in that," said Alan Gray, executive director of Licensed Beverage Distributors.