Issue Page: TABC & Wet/Dry Certification

TABC Permitting - Wet/Dry Certification

HB 1443 - (Rep. Thompson) - SB 699 (Sen. Bob Hall)

TRA's Position

Under the current Texas Alcohol Beverage Code, all alcohol permit and license applications require the relevant city or county to certify the wet/dry status of the of the applicant’s location. However, the law does not require any set timeframe for this certification. TRA supports legislation to require a set time frame (30 days) for a city or county to certify wet status for TABC permitting.

Issue Overview

Under the current Texas Alcohol Beverage Code, all alcohol permit and license applications require the relevant city or county to certify the wet/dry status of the of the applicant’s location. However, the law does not require any set timeframe for this certification.

TABC cannot legally issue a permit without this wet/dry certification from the appropriate city/county. There have been multiple cases reported whereby a city or county has not certified the wet/dry status in a timely manner, causing the applicant to delay opening and incur unexpected inventory and labor costs. It has been reported that many delays of the cities/counties wet/dry certification were caused by cities/counties using the certification process to make applicants take action on matters wholly unrelated to the alcohol permit, such as local code compliance relating to construction, plumbing, electric and other areas.

HB 1443/SB 669 will require cities and counties to certify the wet or dry status of a prospective applicant’s proposed location to sell alcoholic beverages, in a timely manner (within 30 days), as part of the TABC application process.

The Sunset Commission included the recommendation as part of their final report on January 9, 2019. The TABC Sunset bill will now include language with this recommendation.

By requiring a set time frame (30 days) for a city or county to certify wet status, the TABC permitting process will be significantly streamlined, making it more efficient and effective. TABC will be able to approve permits and licenses quicker (without having to unduly wait for city or county certification) and businesses will be better able to plan, financially and employee staffing, for business openings and permit approval.

 

Bill's Intent

By requiring a set time frame (30 days) for a city or county to certify wet status, the TABC permitting process will be significantly streamlined, making it more efficient and effective. TABC will be able to approve permits and licenses quicker (without having to unduly wait for city or county certification) and businesses will be better able to plan, financially and employee staffing, for business openings and permit approval.

Status

House Bill 1443 was filed by Representative Senfronia Thompson on February 6, 2019. Its companion, Senate Bill 699 was filed by Senator Bob Hall on February 7, 2019. The language from HB 1443 and SB 699 has successfully been added to HB 1545, the TABC Sunset Bill, which will be heard on the House floor the week of April 22. HB 1443 passed House Licensing Committee on April 11, and is on its way to the House Local Calendar for passage (updated April 17).