FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2009
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has received several protests regarding applications for new licenses and permits in Lubbock County since a local option election was held on May 9, 2009. The basis for these protests is the allegation that the applications were incorrectly certified as being wet for the sale of alcoholic beverages.
By policy and law, before TABC processes a license or permit application, the city and county must certify the application as being at a location that is wet for that type of permit. TABC issues licenses and permits based on the wet-dry certification from the city and county.
TABC’s role is not to determine whether a location is wet or dry. Previously, the agency has said that any disagreement with the city or county’s wet-dry certification would be settled through a protest hearing process during which the TABC Administrator has final decision-making authority. However, upon further review of the agency policy and the protests themselves, TABC Administrator Alan Steen has determined that using the protest process to determine local wet/dry status is beyond the agency’s authority.
Administrator Alan Steen stated that “The Legislature’s intent was for local communities to determine wet/dry status. It was not their intent to have this state agency second-guess or overturn the wet/dry determination of the city or county officials.” Furthermore, he said, “It is also my opinion that the people of Lubbock have ample opportunity to dispute the local legal decisions within their own local court systems. The protestants have the ability to file an injunction to stop TABC from issuing permits until a court rules on the case.”
Any protests filed in Texas based solely on incorrect wet/dry certification will be dismissed. The agency’s protest policy will be revised to reflect this decision so that future protests may be dismissed in a timely manner. TABC expects to begin issuing licenses and permits within days for authorized applicants and locations.