R Street welcomes Texas bills to modernize liquor laws

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AUSTIN, Texas (Feb.18, 2015) – The R Street Institute welcomed bills introduced in both houses of the Texas Legislature that would modernize alcohol regulation by removing anticompetitive provisions in current state law.

S.B. 609 and H.B. 1225 will repeal the prohibition against publicly traded companies selling distilled spirits. Currently, only privately held companies are allowed by law to sell distilled spirits. Supermarkets, big box stores and convenience stores that currently sell beer and wine already have strong consumer protections in place to prevent minors from accessing alcohol, and often outperform traditional liquor stores in theft prevention and age screening.

“The prohibition in Texas serves no other purpose than to limit competition, and Texas is the only state in the nation that distinguishes retailers by their corporate status for the purposes of selling spirits,” said Josiah Neeley, R Street’s Texas state director.

Current law also limits the number of stores where a company may sell spirits, but includes so many loopholes and exemptions as to undermine any legitimate purpose behind the law. The bills would also provide clarification by repealing the limit on the number of permits a single entity can own.

R Street is pleased to join Texans for Consumer Freedom, a coalition supporting these alcohol reform efforts.

“When the only rationale for a rule is that it limits competition, then that rule needs to go,” said Neeley. “Government shouldn’t be sticking its thumb on the scale to favor one type of business over another.”

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