AUSTIN (Nexstar) — With less than one month to go in the legislative session, bills that haven’t made it out of committee are likely to die.
The last-ditch strategy for a lot of lawmakers is to attach those bills as amendments to a different bill that’s sure to pass.
That was the strategy Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) used with HB 672, the “Beer to Go” bill. The measure lets Texas brewers sell six packs to people who visit their breweries and want to take beer home.
“Well it was referred to committee and just never got a hearing,” Rodriguez said. “I asked for a hearing, never got one.”
So Rodriguez made it an amendment to the bill regulating the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. That’s a bill lawmakers have to pass to keep the TABC in operation. The bill came up for debate Thursday evening.
“When you’re doing amendments you kinda have to feel your way through it and you kinda feel the room so to speak,” Rodriguez said. “I could just feel there was some momentum in making some changes to that bill… so I just kind of went for it when I felt like the room was ready for it.”
Opponents first voted to block the amendment, winning by one vote. But a recount found several members marked as voting yes were not present. Since those votes did not count, the amendment was approved.
The legislation now moves to a Senate committee. That committee could remove the amendment from the final version of the bill before sending it to the full Senate for a vote. Rodriguez is optimistic it will stay in and be approved.
“Craft breweries generate about 4.5 billion dollars to the Texas economy,” Rodriguez said. “I think this will just allow that to grow.”