Below you'll find a list of the current issues upon which the TRA is focused. If you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to Kelsey Streufert, Vice President of Government Affairs and Advocacy.
THE ISSUES - 87TH TEXAS LEGISLATURE (2021):
The 87th legislative session is marked by unprecedented opportunities and unique challenges for the Texas restaurant industry. And because the Texas Legislature only meets for 140 days, every other year, it’s critical that the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) take full advantage of this session. COVID-19 has devastated the foodservice industry, but it has also created enormous goodwill for restaurants amongst the general public and our policymakers. We’re also seeing unprecedented cooperation from other business interests, particularly when it comes to alcohol regulation. Finally, because our agenda fits within the broader category of COVID-19 recovery, it’s likely to be fast-tracked compared to other bills this session.
Because fewer bills are expected to pass this session, TRA will target its resources around a few bills that will have the greatest impact. We will also be prepared to block legislation that will hurt our industry. Currently, we plan to prioritize the following issues:
- Make the victories with Alcohol To-Go waivers permanent so restaurants can sell beer, wine, and cocktails mixed in-house with delivery and takeout orders even after the pandemic ends.
- Pass the "RESTAURANT RESCUE PACKAGE", an omnibus bill designed to help the foodservice industry rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this bill, we can:
- Create a 'restaurant' definition in statute to avoid the type of misclassification that was experienced during the pandemic;
- Shift a small portion of the mixed beverage tax from restaurants to the consumer;
- Make the Governor's waivers permanent so restaurants can sell groceries, and grocery stores can sell restaurant-prepared meals even after the pandemic ends; and
- Require greater pricing and contracting transparency for third-party delivery companies.
- Prevent local governments from creating a patchwork of private-sector employment regulations on issues like paid sick leave, predictive scheduling, and background checks.
- Ensure restaurants receive their fair share of any economic relief created in response to COVID-19
With this agenda, we stand to transform an immediate crisis into long-term opportunities for our industry.
NEXT STEPS - GET INVOLVED! DONATE TO TRACTION TODAY!
TRA has hired three exceptional lobbyists who will drive our strategy and ensure we build the relationships we'll need to succeed when the legislative session begins in January. The stakes have never been higer. Please support these efforts so our industry can take full advantage of the unique opportunities we have next session by donating to the TRAction Fund today.
THE ISSUES - 86th Texas Legislature:
HB 2223 - (Rep. FRULLO/Sen. Perry)
TRA is supporting legislation to clarify and strengthen the language of the original BBQ bill, and to implement the recent Attorney General opinion following TDA rules attempting to nullify it. Read More.
HB 1443 - (Rep. Thompson/Sen. Bob Hall)
TRA supports legislation that would provide for a set time frame (30 days) for a city or county to certify wet status, thus streamlining the TABC permitting process. Read More.
SB 1450 (Sen. Hancock/Rep. Paddie)
TRA is supporting amendments to the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code to allow the holder of a mixed beverage permit to deliver or have delivered by a third party, an alcoholic beverage from the permitted premises directly to the consumer. Read More.
SB 2485, 2486, 2487, 2488 - (Sen. Creighton)
HB 1300 (Rep. Hunter/Sen. Kolkhorst)
TRA is working with a wide-range of stakeholders ranging from conservationists to the business community and academia. This group includes the Coastal Conversation Association, Visit Corpus Christi and oyster researchers from Texas A&M University, to work with state agencies and others, including Texas Parks & Wildlife, to spearhead legislation that would create a new industry in Texas – oyster farming. Read More.
HB 233 (Rep. Krause) - SB 673 (Sen. Campbell)
TRA is working with the A+ Texas coalition to support legislation to establish a uniform school year that begins after Labor Day and ends before Memorial Day. Read More.
HB 2806 (REP. MORRISON) - SB 1832 (SEN. ALVARADO)
TRA is supporting legislation to create a mixed beverage tax rebate program, administered and established within the Texas Music Office for qualifying Texas music venues. The program would help to save these dwindling venues by assisting with costs such as paying/booking live music acts, marketing and promotion, along with venue and equipment upkeep. Read More.