State Rep. Charlie Geren filed legislation that would let restaurants battered by the coronavirus pandemic permanently sell alcohol to go. The measure already has backing from top state officials.
Texas lawmakers are pushing to permanently allow restaurants to sell alcohol for pickup and delivery orders, which Gov. Greg Abbott allowed with an emergency waiver starting in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
State Rep. Charlie Geren, a restaurant owner, filed legislation that would provide an industry crushed by the coronavirus pandemic with the new, permanent revenue stream. The Fort Worth Republican said his Railhead Smokehouse restaurant doesn’t have a mixed beverage permit. That means his barbecue joint, called “a Fort Worth staple” by Texas Monthly, would not benefit from the bill.
But House Bill 1024 could benefit a client of Geren’s wife, Texas lobbyist Mindy Ellmer. The Texas Restaurant Association, which is backing the legislation, paid Ellmer between $25,000 and $49,000 for lobbying work from September through December, according to the Texas Ethics Commission.
Photo: Gov. Greg Abbott allowed alcohol to go with an emergency waiver last year. Lawmakers want to make that option permanent in hopes of helping struggling restaurants. Credit: Allie Goulding/The Texas Tribune