Update: Take-out liquor bill cleans up the Texas house and heads to the Senate
This article has been updated throughout.
AUSTIN (Nexstar) – Texas House has approved a bill that would allow restaurants to deliver alcoholic beverages with food purchases, including beer, wine and mixed drinks.
The bill passed 2nd reading in a voice vote on Wednesday and passed House 144-1 on Thursday. The only no was State Representative Matt Shaheen, R-Plano.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Greg Abbott waived regulations to temporarily allow the pickup and delivery of alcoholic beverages at restaurants selling food.
The legislation approved by the House on Wednesday was drafted by State Representative Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, and would make temporary waivers issued by Abbott last year permanent.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a very, very negative effect on restaurants,” Geren said.
Internal Bill 1024 would authorize a mixed drink licensee who also holds a food and beverage certificate to allow consumers to pick up sealed alcoholic beverages from the premises. It would also allow the delivery of alcoholic beverages in a tamper-evident container. The legislation also applies to private clubs with an appropriate license.
The president of the Texas Restaurant Association celebrated the progress of the bill in the House by saying, “Texans – we’re a big step forward in being able to take out our tacos and margaritas – FOREVER!” “
Governor Abbott has said his temporary waiver to help restaurants was a success.
“Some regulations have been removed to help companies make ends meet,” Abbott said in January. “One example is that we have allowed take out alcohol to help restaurants stay open and keep operating.”
“From what I’m hearing from Texans, we could just let this go on forever,” Abbott said last spring.
The bill passed unanimously in committee earlier this month.
State Senator Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, is the author of The Companion of the Senate.
HB 1024 goes to the Texas Senate. If he passes the Senate, he would be sent to Governor Abbott’s office.