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State representative files bill that would abolish the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

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State Rep. Mayes Middleton has filed a bill to formally abolish the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. - PEXELS / CHRIS F
  • Pexels / Chris F
  • State Rep. Mayes Middleton has filed a bill to formally abolish the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
One Texas rep wants to serve up the TABC's last call.

The mission of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission may be “to serve the people of Texas and protect the public health and safety,” but State Rep. Mayes Middleton, R–Wallisville, thinks the commission has failed to do either for Texas small business owners since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Middleton last week filed a bill to abolish the TABC, transferring the agency’s powers and responsibilities to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, Texas Scorecard reports.

“TABC should facilitate the operations of small businesses, not strive to punish them and shut them down,” Middleton said in a statement. “It did not fulfill its mission to help small businesses and should be abolished. TABC’s actions cost many their life savings. The agency threatened fines, penalties, and the loss of license to operate for many in Texas — all because they were trying to make a living.”

House Bill 4069 follows the shuttering of Texas small businesses, including many bars, as a result statewide pandemic shutdowns. According to Texas Scorecard, many business owners have complained about harassment, intimidation and violations of constitutional rights at the hands of TABC agents over the course of the crisis.

The TABC has experienced no shortage of scandals. From officials being caught using taxpayer money for trips to ritzy resorts to its cozy relationship with big beverage companies, the agency has long been under the scrutiny of bar owners, Texas Scorecard reports.

What's more, agency’s Chairman Kevin Lilly owns the largest wealth-management company in Texas and has been criticized for regulating companies that provide him profit.

Last year, a proposal put forward by state bar owners called on the state to completely defund TABC, or at the very least, put a bar owner on its board. That proposal suggested shifting the agency’s authority to a local level.

If the legislation passes, the TABC would expire on September 1, 2022.

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