Admittedly, this has been a slow week as far as the blog is concerned (although we set a new record for visits on Tuesday with almost 1,000). Activity is almost at a complete standstill as we wait for Committee Assignments from Speaker Joe Straus in the House and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in the Senate.
The committees that are of particular importance to our bill will be the Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee (House), Calendars (House) and Business & Commerce (Senate). Senate committees are likely to be announced today, and House committees could be as soon as today but more likely sometime next week. After committees are announced, sometime in second or third week of February, HB 660 will likely be referred to committee. Alcohol bills in the House usually go to Licensing & Administrative Procedures. At that point, the bill will be set for hearing, in which witnesses will be called to testify before the committee about the bill. Based on that testimony, a few things can happen.
1. The committee can pass the bill, at which time it will be referred to the calendars committee who will schedule it for a vote on the House floor.
2. The committee can submit a substitute bill with revisions
3. The committee can instruct the parties to work together to rework the bill
4. It will die a gruesome, fiery death.
Obviously, we are hoping for anything but #4 (ideally, #1 or #2).
If it makes it to the house floor and it receives a major vote, it will then be referred to the senate to go through a similar process (the likely committee in the senate is Business & Commerce. One thing that sometimes helps bills is to have them filed in both the House and Senate, so they both progress to the finish line together. I’m hopeful we can find a Senate sponsor for this bill and we can go this route. So while letters, emails and phone calls to the House are the most important for HB 660 directly, contact to your Senators is important too.
A note on contacting your representatives
Again, I thank you all for the letters, emails and phone calls you’ve been making. They really do make a difference. And our bill is being noticed. The official @HB660 twitter account, and my own personal twitter account (@beermonkey) have gained a high profile follower this week – the Lt. Governor himself! And as I told you before, the Governors office is well aware of the bill. And, as a side note, I have it on good authority that Governor Perry likes craft beer, and used to have kegs of beer from The Bitter End at the governor’s mansion while that brewpub was still open.
Further, I want to thank all of you who have shared the great feedback you’ve gotten from your Representatives. I’ve yet to see one Representative who is against it, and most of them make comments about how they are a fan of their local brewpub/brewery. It is great to see our voices being heard.
Keep up the great work!