Chamber Asks Citizens to Sign Local Option Alcohol Petition
ROUND ROCK, Texas – The Round Rock Chamber today announced the launch of a petition-campaign effort asking voters to support balancing the alcohol sales rules for all areas in the City of Round Rock. They are asking City of Round Rock-registered voters to sign a petition to call for an election in November 2018.
The petition will allow a vote for the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages. Since Prohibition, the State of Texas allows elections to be held with either counties, justice of the peace precincts, or municipal city limits. There are now ten different versions of legal alcohol sales. These categories are commonly referred to as the “wet-dry” status.
After Prohibition, there have been more than twenty-two local option efforts including three that affected the City of Round Rock and surrounding areas. In 1983, Round Rock voters approved all alcohol sales that covered what was inside the city limits at that time. In 1987, the same version was approved in the justice of the peace precinct that took in areas north and west. The last election in 2002 within the city limits approved alcohol sales in restaurants. Since these elections, the city has annexed more land, but the “wet-dry” status that was in effect prior to annexation remains in force. In order to have the rules apply to all of Round Rock, state law requires the election to be held in the current boundaries of the city.
“This is an economic and business climate fairness issue,” explained Mike Odom, the chamber’s president and CEO. “Over time, these patchwork set of laws are hurting our current businesses and keeping us from realizing our full potential. Approximately 80 percent of the city allows for maximum flexibility when it comes to the sale of alcoholic beverages, while the remaining areas have arbitrary limitations. We need to support all of our City of Round Rock businesses with one set of rules for everyone.”
Pete Pearson, owner of Buffalo Wings and Rings near the corner of A.W. Grimes Boulevard and Gattis School Road, is one of the businesses at a competitive disadvantage due to the conflicting laws. “We are on the wrong side of the road according to current alcohol laws. In order to serve mixed drinks to our customers, state law requires us to be a private club. According to the Texas Restaurant Association, it costs restaurants who are private clubs as much as $20,000 per year to keep in compliance with the state law. Meanwhile, our competitor restaurants close by do not have to operate as a private club. Changing this law will make it a more level playing field.”
Studies by Texas economist Ray Perryman show that by changing this law, City of Round Rock businesses should be generating over $101,000,000 dollars in general sales every year, creating nearly 1,000 jobs, and generating approximately $2,150,000 in local sales tax revenues annually. In 2008, Perryman issued a report documenting the impact that elections to legalize alcohol sales have on a community. The report released findings on the impact of Texas communities based on population.
State law requires that the effort must gather approximately 6,500 signatures of City of Round Rock voters by July 7, 2018 in order to be included on the November 2018 ballot. If enough signatures are garnered, the Round Rock City Council will be required to order the election in November. Petition officials, identified in yellow shirts, will be canvassing neighborhoods and going door-to-door to gather signatures.
Past Elections Creating “Wet” Status
1983 – City of Round Rock – All alcohol including mixed beverages
1987 – Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 – All alcohol including mixed beverages
2002 – Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 – Restaurant sales
View the alcohol status map for the city.
About the Round Rock Chamber
The Round Rock Chamber is one of the largest and most active business organizations in Central Texas. Its approximately 1,000 investors collectively employ more than 25,000 people in the area. It is also the region’s only accredited chamber by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit www.roundrockchamber.org.