Alcoholic Beverage Permits: H.B. 2818 Explained

 

House Bill 2818 (R. Sheffield/Carona), a bill affecting alcohol sales, passed during the regular legislative session and will be effective on September 1.  The bill has caused a great deal of confusion among city officials and others related to the sale of alcohol. 

Texas has a quirky system of local option laws related to liquor sales.  Some of the many choices that – after a petition process – may be submitted to voters in a city, county, or justice precinct in a local option election include:

    1. “The legal sale of beer for off-premise consumption only.”
    2. “The legal sale of beer.”
    3. “The legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only.”
    4. “The legal sale of beer and wine.”
    5. “The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only.”
    6. ‘The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages except mixed beverages.”
    7. ‘The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages.”
    8. ‘The legal sale of mixed beverages.”
    9. “The legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only.”
    10. “The legal sale of wine on the premises of a holder of a winery permit.”

One of the quirks in the law occurs when a city’s voters have approved items three and eight or items three and nine as its local option status. The approval of either status allows the sale of spirits, wine, and beer for on-premises consumption (in some cases only by a restaurant). 

Under that status, if a restaurant owner wants to sell beer and wine only (i.e., not mixed drinks), the restaurant owner is still required to obtain a permit that allows beer, wine, and mixed drinks.  The cost of that permit is very expensive.

H.B. 2818 will allow such a restaurant owner to obtain a permit that is much less expensive (i.e., one that allows only wine and beer sales at the establishment).  It doesn’t create a new local option status in that regard, but it may allow the sale of beer and wine during late night hours as a matter of right.

Other provisions of the bill related to updated county precinct lines could tangentially affect some cities.

 

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.

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