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Should Texas Allow Liquor Stores to Open on Sunday? [POLL]

JMR_Photography, Flickr

No, it isn’t the most pressing issue in the State of Texas but that doesn’t mean there won’t be debate. Two lawmakers have filed bills that would do away with the state’s “blue laws”. According to the Texas Tribune, the bills would also extend sales by an hour during the week.

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 236and 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 In the past nine years, 14 states have repealed Sunday liquor bans.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.

The bills aren’t supported by everyone though. That includes some liquor store owners themselves. Some owners say the cost of operating stores for longer hours and an extra day would cancel out any additional profits.

“We won’t generate enough sales to handle the change,” said David Jabour, president of Twin Liquors, a family-run chain based in Austin.

The 1,600 locally owned liquor stores in Texas would suffer the most from the growing overhead, said Lance Lively, executive director of the Texas Package Store Association, which represents hundreds of liquor stores across the state.

“I spoke with a liquor store in Columbus, Texas, and the woman said, ‘If we’re going to be forced, not by the law but by competition, [to stay open Sunday], it’s just not going to be cost-effective and we’re going to close our doors,” Lively said.

So what do you think? Should Texas change the law?


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