News Roundup: House Passes Bill Allowing Earlier Sunday Beer And Wine Sales

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelApril 28, 2019 11:36 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The Texas House has approved a bill that would extend beer and wine sales on Sundays and also allow craft breweries to sell beer to-go.  These measures were tacked onto legislation that relates to the efficiency and operation of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

HB 1545 is what’s known as a “sunset bill,” which needs to pass to keep the agency open.  The bill’s author is State Rep. Chris Paddie, a Republican from Marshall.

“The first thing the bill does is continue the TABC for 12 years recognizing the state has continued need for a strong regulator for the alcoholic beverage industry,” Paddie said.

State Rep. Drew Springer, a North Texas Republican, introduced the amendment to begin beer and wine sales at 10 a.m. on Sunday, instead of noon in licensed retailers. He said his proposal is all about convenience.

“If you go into a Costco, a Sam’s, any grocery store at about 11:45 in the afternoon, you’re going to see nothing but angry constituents that don’t understand why they can’t get on with their day,” Springer said.

Springer also pointed out a few places that are already permitted to sell alcohol before noon on Sundays.

“We allow country clubs to begin selling mimosas at 10 o’clock. On the golf course the beer cart, you can buy at 10 o’clock. This bill looks to bring those into the same align where you can have off-premise sales at 10 a.m. on Sundays,” He said.

The Texas House overwhelmingly passed the bill Friday. Still when the bill makes its way to the Texas Senate,

A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Texas law that prohibits people contracting with the state from boycotting Israel.

KUT’s Nadia Hamdan reports.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by a speech pathologist with the Pflugerville Independent School District. Her contract was terminated after she refused to sign a document – required by state law – pledging not to boycott Israel. She sued, arguing the law violates her constitutional rights.

The judge agreed to halt the law while the case works its way through the courts.  In his order, he said boycotts are protected speech and that the law violates the First Amendment by threatening to “suppress unpopular ideas” and “manipulate the public debate through coercion rather than persuasion.” 25 other states have similar anti-boycott legislation or executive orders.

Meantime, lawmakers in the Texas House have already passed a change to the anti-boycott law that would exempt individuals with state contracts and companies with fewer than 10 employees. The measure still needs approval in the Senate.

A sales tax holiday for emergency preparation supplies begins Saturday in Texas. Qualifying supplies include household batteries, hurricane shutters and portable generators. The Texas Comptroller’s office estimates Texans could save about $1.6 million in state and local sales taxes during the tax holiday.  It runs from April 27 through April 29.