Local State Senator Pushing for Sunday Liquor Sales in Texas

Categories: Booze

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pamlane
Sunday Funday indeed.
Such times as these - the economy in recession, federal and state governments mired in debt, and more than 8 percent unemployment - are leading state lawmakers around the country to question the financial logistics of blue laws restricting any business from operating during specified hours, including State Senator Rodney Ellis (D, Houston) who filed a bill this month that would permit the sale of liquor on Sundays.

The current law for sale of hard liquor in Texas is as follows:

CHAPTER 105. HOURS OF SALE AND CONSUMPTION Sec. 105.01. HOURS OF SALE: LIQUOR. (a) Except as provided in Sections 105.02, 105.03, 105.04, and 105.08, no person may sell, offer for sale, or deliver any liquor: (1) on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving Day, or Christmas Day; (2) on Sunday; or (3) before 10 a.m. or after 9 p.m. on any other day. (b) When Christmas Day or New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, Subsection (a) of this section applies to the following Monday. Hence the sign at Spec's Liquors that reads, "Open 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday (The Maximum Permitted By Texas Law)."

A Blue Law as defined by Wikipedia is, "a type of law designed to enforce religious standards, particularly the observance of Sunday as a day of worship or rest." For obvious reasons (like the First Amendment), many of these archaic regulations have since been reversed or revamped for the 21st century. Yet Texas is one of 14 states that still prohibit the sale of liquor on Sundays. Then again, we also have a law requiring criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either (orally or in writing), and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed. And another one that prohibits breweries from selling beer to consumers.

According to the Legislative Budget Board, one day of added liquor sales could amount to $7 million in sales tax over the next two years, money that could be put to good use on education and roadways. Ellis admits this won't put much of a dent in Texas' multi-billion dollar deficit, but every little bit counts.

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Mansoorakbar
Mansoorakbar

Texas is a great state to live, but they are little slow in making smart decisions. They need more money then the state should allow the bars to serve till 4am on Friday and Saturday. Being in a bar business since 1982, I have seen the habits of patrons has changed a lot. Instead of packing the clubs/bars around 9pm, now they start showing up around 11pm. Late hours serving will generate extra 14% liquor tax, will ease fast drinking and give more time to patrons to leave between 2-4am to avoid many traffic accidents. Senator Rodney should think about this too.

Blemishwe
Blemishwe

Sad enough that gov't has to regulate this stuff. Even sadder that gov't in service to religious extremism has to regulate this stuff.

Even Dan Patrick, when he was a liquor hawker, served drinks on Sunday.

Tim
Tim

I actually originally hail from a state where you can even buy booze at the grocery store. It's crazy! You can buy food at the super market, just like in Texas. You can buy beer there, just like in Texas. You can buy wine there, just like in Texas... and you can buy sweet, sweet liquor, totally unlike Texas.

Of course, because of this, every person in the state is an alcoholic, and drunken juveniles roams the streets menacing the public at large, but it's worth it for the convenience.*

*The first two statements in this statement might not actually be true.

trisch
trisch

LOL, does the statute really say, "Hence the sign at Spec's Liquors that reads, 'Open 10am-9pm Monday-Saturday (The Maximum Permitted By Texas Law).'?" I'm guessing this is a formatting error, but it'd be really funny if the statute really did include a shout-out to Spec's.

Curious about the 24-hour notice requirement prior to committing a crime. Googling it only brings up message boards and random websites. Some say it's a Texas law. Others say it's a Dallas city ordinance. Anyone know if there's any truthiness to this, or is it just another urban legend?

Lauren Marmaduke
Lauren Marmaduke

Ha - I just saw that.

Yes, it's just a formatting area. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a shout out to Budweiser hidden somewhere in there though!

Kyle
Kyle

10A - 9P is the maximum permitted by Texas law. Spec's cites this on the sign with their hours.

Jim Ayres
Jim Ayres

Richard's is one that closes earlier than the state maximum, 8 instead of 9.

Rgwalt
Rgwalt

How much extra tax could they collect on the non-alcohol sales at the Specs in Midtown? Another million?

H_e_x
H_e_x

Very true. Coffee, cheese, chips & salsa, and other things are sold there. I would love to be able to run down to specs on a Sunday to grab a bag of coffee and champagne for a homemade brunch.

chef504
chef504

I don't give a damn if it does or does not make more money for the state of Texas. I care about the fact that it's against the law to buy alcohol on Sunday. Blue laws, is a real nice way to not say, go fuck yourselves while we impose our religious values on all you godless heathens in need of saving despite yourselves. I can not believe that in the year 2011 Texas still has laws on the books that seem to have been inspired by a bunch of church ladies. I come from the land of thinking that adults can make decisions to purchase liquor whenever they need to without a legislature governing on the subject. It's long past the time that the U.S has needed to take it's bible belt off and hang the people that think it's appropriate to attempt governing morality.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Oh, I'm not saying that I agree eith Blue Laws, just that I doubtrepealing them will increase in significantly higher taxes from liquorsales. By all means, Texans should be able to buy booze on Sunday.

Kelli
Kelli

It's worth a try.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Gotta say, I'm curious how they came up with the assumption that "one day of added liquor sales could amount to $7 million in sales tax over the next two years." It feels like they just took average daily sales tax from liquor sales, extrapolated that number out for two years, and called it a day.

I don't think it's necessarily the case that the ability to buy liquor on Sunday will amount to people actually buying more liquor than they would otherwise, but rather, it will likely just shift the pattern of liquor purchases, without a significant change in volume. Is that just me?

Lauren Marmaduke
Lauren Marmaduke

I believe there is also supposed to be an increase in the state tax on booze. I think it would make a nice trade off - let us have our booze on Sunday, I'll give you a few more cents on the bottle.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I can get behind that, and the increased tax would certainly help withreaching that increased tax revenue projection!

Kyle
Kyle

I intend to buy more than usual on Sunday. I like to have a bottle of wine with Sunday dinner. I think there's many like me that would be buying more.

But who really cares? Anything we can use to wedge this through is fine with me.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Existing law doesn't prevent you from buying a bottle of wine onSunday, just hard liquor. You can buy beer and wine 7 days.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I suppose that's a fair response. I believe that Spec's has a fewstores that are open on Sunday, for beer, wine and food sales, though,right?

Kyle
Kyle

Spec's sells what I want, though, and has the people who can make a good recommendation. Additionally, I would be more prone to buy foodstuffs from Spec's on the weekend, when I have time to cook. Their chocolate section is so much fun.

H_e_x
H_e_x

My demand would increase with the added day. I would not stretch out my current consumption over a longer period but would instead buy more in general.

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Really, the ability to buy a bottle of gin on Sunday instead of Mondaywill significantly increase your overall consumption of hard liquor?I'm just not convinced that such is true for a significant enoughportion of the population to result in such a considerable sales taxincrease. Would I end up buying the occasional Sunday bottle?Abso-freakin-lutely. Will I end up drinking more heavily just becauseI can? I doubt it.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Take into account parties and gatherings, then you have a bump in sales. If I know my people from the Caribbean, this will be a boon to sales.And just lazy Sunday sales will increase. I enjoy my drink, and not much beats spending a Sunday with some beer or spirits.At the very least I think Sunday sales will cover the operational costs of staying open. This is by no means a major solution to the budget crisis our inept governor and legislature got us into, but I think it is a consumer friendly change. Adults should be able to but alcohol whenever they want. As long as the purveyors find it profitable to remain open, then they should be allowed to stay open.

M
M

The proposal is for an additional day of sales each week. How else would it be calculated? (It's a sincere question. I'm not being snarky here.)

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

I'm not really sure, but that's assuming that an additional day onwhich people can buy booze will actually increase demand. I don'treally think that's necessarily true. Just because people can buytheir booze on Sunday, doesn't mean they'll buy more booze overall,they'll just get on Sunday what they would otherwise get on Monday orTuesday. In order for tax revenue to increase, there would have to bean actual increase in demand. There's no direct correlation betweenSunday sales and increased demand, at least not one that jumps out atme as a given.

guest
guest

@M: Sundays might be better than Tuesdays, but think about saturdays. Liquor stores are busiest on Saturday, so opening on Sunday would just decrease Saturday sales. I'm with nick, more days open doesn't mean more money

Aaron
Aaron

Me thinks both assumptions are faulty - No, you cannot just extrapolate daily sales for a 7th day, and no you cannot a take previous period's sales and say it will be comparable to the next period even though the next period has increased its sales capacity by 17%!

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

You can hypothesize anything you want, I suppose. That doesn't changemy point that the assumption seems faulty.

M
M

Thanks for your reply. Your point is well taken that an additional day does not necessarily equate to an additional 17% (approximately) in sales tax revenue. Even so, I do wonder if Sundays wouldn't be more profitable than the average Tuesday, for example. So, even if we factor in a shift in shopping habits and toss out the extrapolation based on averages, could we not still hypothesize an increase in sales tax revenue?

Behar32c
Behar32c

I would say that Blue Laws are a relic of times past, but doesn't the data show that the US in general is bucking trends by becoming MORE religious. And I would assume Texas specifically is in the forefront of this trend with various Republican goofballs like Dan Patrick leading the charge. And it's hard to drive around Houston without spotting a mega-church of some kind.

Europe is getting more rational; we're getting more superstitious. Wonderful!

Old Salty
Old Salty

I would love to shop at Spec's on a Sunday and not just for booze, for food too!!

BUST THE BLUE LAWS!!!

big red
big red

At least Ellis is thinking about the phobia in Texas surrounding booze. It is just plain stupid that you cannot buy champagne for Thanksgiving (especially) should you overlook buying it the day before. The next target should be getting car dealers to open on Sundays.

Texmex01
Texmex01

how about you work on Sundays and not spendtime with your family before you make demands of other working people...

Kyle
Kyle

I have to agree re: car dealers. They worked us to death when I was selling cars. 80+ hours per week when the dealership was doing bad, and we weren't getting any hourly pay. The legally-required 1 day off was very important to us, and I can't even imagine a 90+ hour week.

Liquor stores pay an hourly wage, though, so I say let'er rip.

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

Just to play devil's advocate... What if you want to work on Sunday? What if you want to pick up extra hours or have a weekend job?

Texmex01
Texmex01

"The next target should be getting car dealers to open on Sundays"

This is what I was responding to, "demanding" to be open on Sundays...You think people complain about car dealers now, just wait and see if they go 7 days a week....

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