Local State Senator Pushing for Sunday Liquor Sales in Texas

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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Lauren Marmaduke
Contact: Lauren Marmaduke