Thursday, March 22, 2018

#TXLEGE: Booze Lobby gets a little weaker....

"Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight."
Proverbs 11:1

The professional booze lobby is one of the more obnoxious special interests at the Capitol [Note: Especially considering how certain legislators seem to love their product], so the following development is welcome:
A protectionist Texas law that has kept Walmart, Costco and other giant retailers from selling hard liquor was found unconstitutional by a federal judge this week, prompting cheers from free-market advocates — and vows of a quick appeal from one of the parties on the losing side.

The Texas law that was struck down — unique in the United States — forbids publicly traded businesses from owning liquor stores while allowing family-owned companies to grow into giant chains without fear of competition from large national or international corporations.

If the late Tuesday ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman survives appeals, Texas consumers — like those in at least 31 other states and many foreign countries — will be able to buy vodka, tequila and bourbon from Walmart-owned stores and from other multinational retailer outlets.

“For decades, these laws have stood in stark contrast to Texas values,” said Travis Thomas, spokesman for Texans for Consumer Freedom, which advocates for free-market reforms in Texas. “The State of Texas should not pick winners and losers in private industry.”
This case is all sorts of fascinating (if somewhat complicated) from a legal perspective.  From a political perspective, however, it's an unambiguous win.  One of the most entrenched special interests at the Capitol will be significantly weakened, and Wal-Mart is footing the bill.  At a minimum, however many millions of dollars the booze lobby spends fighting this lawsuit are millions of dollars they can't spend lobbying the legislature.

Bottom Line: Whatever resources the booze lobby has to pour into defending this flank are resources they won't have elsewhere....

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