Texas Watchdog has the sad news.
Three bills that would allow microbreweries to sell beer where they brew it appear under the influence of special interests as one of the most powerful and well-funded lobbies in the state, the Texas Wholesale Beer Distributors, claims another triumph.
“It has to do with the theory of warfare,” says Howard Wolf, the treasurer of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s political action committee. “There are huge amounts of money at stake here, and this monopoly is so entrenched and so powerful, they are going to fight as long as they can to protect this monopoly or scheme.”
This session three Democrats proposed a slight tweak to the law that would permit the state’s breweries to sell limited amounts of beer. But the Wholesale Beer Distributors, a press shy group that fills the campaign chests of lawmakers from all parties and regions, testified against a compromise measure, sponsored by state Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, and the bill is still not scheduled for a committee vote. Meanwhile, time is running out. (That the Beer Alliance of Texas, a rival lobby, actually helped write Farrar’s compromise bill, should give you a good indication of that group’s own clout.)
I guess Rick Donley of the Beer Alliance of Texas wasn’t kidding when he said “I wish we had one-tenth the influence [the breweries] think we have.” Of course, he was speaking as a distributor, and that’s the team that won. So, you know, maybe not such a compelling argument.
Two other beer bills-one from state Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, and state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, also appear to be drying up with no vote scheduled on either of them.
At this point, any bill that hasn’t been voted out of committee is almost certainly dead. For sure, any bill with dedicated opposition from a lobby like the beer distributors is very dead, not just merely dead. Sorry, beer drinkers of Texas. We lose again.