The Texas House has voted to allow stores to sell beer and wine beginning at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The new legislation will be two hours earlier than the state’s current law allows. It was approved on its third reading Friday morning.
The sales time change is part of an amendment to a broader bill regarding the operations and efficiency of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Discussion on that bill continues. But it must pass during this legislative session in order to keep from shutting down the TABC.
And once it is approved by the House, it then moves to the State Senate. And it’s not out of the question that the beer and wine amendment could be stripped from that bill.
The state’s current law does not allow licensed retailers like grocery stores and convenience stores from selling wine and beer for off-premise consumption until noon on Sundays.
State Rep. Drew Springer, R-Muenster, author the amendment to move the time up to 10 a.m. It correlates those sales to be in line with what is currently allowed at on-premise places like bars and restaurants.
“We allow country clubs to sell mimosas at 10 a.m.,” Springer said during the debate on the House floor.
Springer’s amendment, which he said would mark the first change to state law in more than 80 years if it is approved, passed in a 99-40 vote. It came even after the bill’s author, state Rep. Chris Paddie, R-Marshall, said he opposed it.
The approval sparked an excited response from state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who told the Texas Tribune after the law was passed: “This is freedom. This is eagles!”
The change won’t affect liquor stores, which under the state’s current law aren’t allowed to operate on Sundays.
The House also narrowly approved a proposal from state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, to allow craft breweries to sell beer to go. It’s something that is already legal in every other state, Rodriguez told the Tribune.