First off, thank you all for the supportive emails, tweets and text messages on HB 660. Your support is invaluable in this process. If you are tweeting on the topic, I’ve started using the hashtag #HB660 for search purposes.
The one question I’ve received the most since Day 1 of this campaign has been “what can we do to help?” Yesterday I touched on this briefly and mentioned how I’d be meeting soon with my industry peers on formal events we can organize to round-up support, and I encouraged you to send in ideas of how we could further the cause.
Of course, the first thing that can be done is writing your state Representatives. You can find out who represents you by clicking here (email address to contact Representatives are found on their individual webpages). As the bill is currently only filed in the House, the following applies specifically to House Representatives for now.
Next week Speaker Straus and Lt. Governor Dewhurst will assign Committees, which will an important first step in knowing the key players that are especially vital to the bill moving forward in the process. Right now we do not know what committee the bill will be assigned to, or who will sit on those committees.
With that said, I’ve drafted the text below as a guide of what you can write your Representatives today to make them aware of this issue and its importance to their constituency. Again, this is intended for House Representatives only.
Representative [Representative’s Full Name]
Dear Representative [Representative’s Last Name],
[First Paragraph, briefly introduce yourself. Give your name and the name of your organization if it is relevant to the cause. Mention if you are personally a constituent of the Representative or what your connection to him/her is].
I am writing you today in regards to H.B. 660 relating to the sale of malt liquor, ale, and beer by the holder of a brewpub license, filed by Representative Mike Villarreal of San Antonio. This bill would allow Texas brewpubs the right to make their products available for sale off-premise, a right that out-of-state brewpubs already enjoy within the borders of Texas.
This bill would help Texas brewpubs grow and remain competitive in a rapidly growing industry; help Texas wholesale permit and distributors license holders by expanding their product portfolios; help retailers by allowing them to highlight local products; give Texas consumers greater access to the products they want; and help the state by creating new jobs and increasing the tax base.
The craft brewing industry is beginning to garner national attention, and our laws must not prevent our own small businesses from flourishing – especially to the benefit of out-of-state businesses who are currently able to do what our own breweries cannot.
I hope you will Vote Yes for HB 660 should you be given the opportunity either on a committee or on the house floor.
Thank you for your time and service to our great state.
[Your Signature if Mailing or Faxing]
Absolutely feel free to change the letter as you see fit and make it your own. As more of these cross the desk of our lawmakers, the harder it becomes for them to ignore what every Texan sees as common sense.
Tomorrow: More ideas on what we can do.