Legislative Update: SB515-518 & Reaching Out!

Opening the Taps Soon?
Momentum continues to build in the Texas Legislature for the craft beer industry, as a formal package of bills has taken shape.  Identical bills are ready to move in both the House and the Senate (they are starting out as companion bills so whichever bills moves quicker through their respective chamber will become the vehicle for the new law).  The coalition of advocacy groups supporting these bills includes Open the Taps, the Texas Craft Brewer’s Guild, and the Beer Alliance of Texas.  In the Senate, Senator Eltife and Senator Van de Putte will spearhead the effort to pass these bills, along with several other senators who have signed on as co-sponsors; while in the House, Licensing & Administrative Procedures Chairman Wayne Smith is leading a growing coalition of state representatives.
 
·         SB 515/HB 1763 expands annual production limit of malt beverages for brewpub license holders and allows a brewpub to self-distribute to certain retailers and certain wholesalers.
·         SB 516/HB 1764 raises annual production cap and permits limited self-distribution for craft ale brewing products.  Removes discriminatory in-state/out-of-state manufacturing language.
·         SB 517/HB 1765 raises annual production cap and permits limited self-distribution for craft beer products.  Removes discriminatory in-state/out-of-state manufacturing language.
·         SB 518/HB 1766 allows craft brewers to sell beer and ale for on premises consumption.
 
We do not have a specific date yet for committee hearings but we are letting all the members of the Texas Legislature as well as the state leadership know that we support these bills as a good starting point for the debate.  There are a few other bills that have been filed relating to other alcoholic beverage issues, but at this point Open the Taps is actively supporting only the above-mentioned bills.  As you would imagine, there is an organized and well-funded opposition working to delay or stop these bills, but we are confident that our coalition will be able to move these bills successfully to the governor’s desk for signature.  Please stay tuned to our twitter feed and website for real time updates as the next several weeks will be very important to our movement.
 
Now is the time to start reaching out, politely and respectfully, to the Senators on the Business and Commerce Committee. While everyone can reach out, strategic communication from constituents is more effective so early in the process. If you live in one of the districts below, we especially encourage you to reach out!
Click the link at the bottom of the post to find out which districts you live in, then give the commitee members a call, send a short email, tweet, Facebook post or even snail-mail, to let them know you support  Senate Bills 515-518. It's as simple as that! As we move forward, we will have a more tailored message for our members and supporters.
 
Committee Members & Their Districts:
Chair: John Carona; District 16
Vice-Chair: Larry Taylor; District 11
Members:
Kevin Eltife; District 1
Craig Estes; District 30
Kelly Hancock; District 9
Eddie Lucio, Jr.; District 27
Leticia Van de Putte; District 26
Kirk Watson; District 14
John Whitmire; District 15
 
Find out what District you live in here.