The House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures, which oversees the alcoholic beverage code, hasn’t posted any meetings that will be happening in the near future. But we thought it relevant to go ahead and give you the interim charges they’re dealing with as they go into the election cycle.
State Rep. Tuffy Hamilton, chairman of the committee, says the panel probably won’t start meeting until the summer to deal with the charges. We, of course, will let you know when those meetings get scheduled.
But meanwhile, here’s what Speaker Joe Straus assigned them for the interim :
1) Review the alcoholic beverage licensing and permitting process. Explore possible reforms with interested stakeholders to streamline and improve the process.
2) Study the feasibility of streamlining the process to obtain an occupational license. Consider consolidating all occupational licenses under one state agency and whether such a move would increase efficiency and effectiveness. Analyze the process being used in other states.
3) Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 82nd Legislature.
4) (ADDED ON MARCH 1) Study all existing occupational licensing programs and determine their impact on consumers, competition, and the cost of services. Explore the extent to which new licensing programs are necessary.
Notably absent from the interim charges that we could tell (original document here and March addendum here) is any directives to study a mandatory bottle recycling program, known as Bottle Bills in the nearly one dozen states that have passed them. (Be sure and let us know if it’s been snuck in there under some language that’s completely hidden to us….)
The Texas Legislature tried to pass such a program in 2011 with a bill that set a deposit rate of 10 cents for containers that were under 24 oz and 15 cents for larger ones. The legislation would have covered glass or plastic containers as well as cans, for beverages including beer, malt, soft drinks, water, juice, mineral water tea, coffee.
The flip side of the environmental argument for recycling, of course, is that it amounted to was a tax on the beverage industry that would be passed on to consumers – and was widely regarded as a subsidy for ALCOA, which manufactures aluminum. All of which might explain why, the only time the Texas House got to vote on the bill last session, more than 100 members gave it the thumbs down.
Bills by Houston Democrats Rodney Ellis and Garnet Coleman were bottled up in their respective committees, and an amendment by Coleman attempting to pass it as part of another bill went down in flames, with 101 no votes. The Bottle Bill groups vow to reintroduce legislation in 2013, but it doesn’t appear to be a priority for the speaker.