Here is your Morning Brief for February 19, 2015.

Mario Tama, Getty Images
Mario Tama, Getty Images

Alcohol Sales in Texas

Kroger and Wal-Mart may be competitors but when it comes to the future of selling alcohol, they are in it together. According to the Texas Tribune, the two companies have launched a new nonprofit group called Texans for Consumer Freedom.

Public companies are barred from the Texas booze market by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — an arbitrary exclusion from the free market, group members say.

“Free markets transcend any individual retailers whether they’re publicly or privately held,” said Travis Thomas, a spokesman who helped form Texans for Consumer Freedom. “It should be open to everybody to compete.”

Bills filed this week by state Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and state Rep.Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, would repeal parts of the alcohol code that exclude publicly traded corporations and limit the number of liquor stores a company can own.

If the bills pass, grocery stores that want to sell hard alcohol would still be required to do so in a separate building with its own entrance.

Sadly here in Texas, we are too scared for adults to see liquor in the same building as beer or bread so we will still force these businesses to build separate buildings and entrances. Time to get rid of the blue laws and to allow the "big-boys" to sell liquor.

Paxton Seeks Emergency Order

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton isn't done fighting gay marriage in Texas just yet. According to the Texas Tribune, Paxton on Wednesday asked for the Texas Supreme Court to jump in an issue an emergency order blocking a Travis County Probate Judge's decision over a common-law gay marriage case.

Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman ruled Tuesday that banning gay marriage is illegal in a case filed by an Austin woman asking the county to recognize her eight-year relationship with another woman as a common-law marriage. The ruling prompted uncertainty among officials who were unsure what effect it has on gay marriage in the county.

Paxton is petitioning the state’s highest court to immediately halt the ruling's effect because it is “unnecessary and overly broad” and could give rise to “legal chaos” if county clerks interpret it to mean they can begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, according to the attorney general’s petition.

“The probate judge’s misguided ruling does not change Texas law or allow the issuance of a marriage license to anyone other than one man and one woman,” Paxton said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir commended Herman’s ruling as a “great step toward marriage equality.” But her office is holding off on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples for now.

“The Travis County Attorney’s office is examining the order as well as the status of the current federal litigation related to marriage equality at the Fifth Circuit and in the Supreme Court,” DeBeauvoir said in a statement on Tuesday. “Because of all of these factors, the County Clerk is not issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples at the present time.”

I expect the Texas Supreme Court to step in and I anticipate that many states will see holds on these types of cases until the United States Supreme Court rules.

Other Must Read Links:

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