TFFA Priorities for the 88th Legislative Session
Ready-To-Drink (RTD) Proposal
The Ready-to-Drink (RTD) liquor based cocktails category, including hard seltzers, recorded the largest consumption increase in the US last year. The category will be bigger than wine in the US by the end of 2021. RTDs are expected to gain 22% volume share of total beverage alcohol in the US by 2025, up from 9.6% share currently. However, under current law, C-Stores in Texas are not allowed to sell liquor based RTDs despite a majority of the category having similar or lower alcohol-by-volume than comparable beer and wine.
HB 2200/SB 1288 by Representative Holland and Senator Hancock would allow consumers to purchase spirits-based RTDS in convenience and grocery stores in Texas. This legislation would modernize the Texas marketplace and increase consumer choice.
Swipe Fee Fairness
HB 3395/SB 1541 by Representative Capriglione and Senator Parker ensures Texas businesses do not have to pay costly swipe fees to credit and debit card processors when they complete their legal duty to collect taxes on behalf of the government. HB 3395/SB 1541 protects merchants from swipe fees only when they are collecting state and local taxes as required by the government. Specifically, the bill requires card processors to either deduct taxes from the swipe fee calculation or rebate the swipe fees that are attributable to taxes. The swipe fee fairness legislation could save Texas businesses over $587 million a year.
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Texas Regulatory Consistency Act
HB 2127/SB 814 by Representative Burrows and Senator Creighton would provide stability and consistency for business owners by returning commercial regulatory authority to the state - rather than thousands of local governments. HB 2127/SB 814 would eliminate costly compliance burdens and fuel economic growth.
Electric Vehicle Registration Fees
HB 2199/SB 505 by Representative Canales and Senator Nichols would ensure that electric vehicles pay their fair share for maintaining our Texas roads and infrastructure by requiring a $200 fee for the registration or renewal of an electric vehicle (general one-year inspection fee) and $400 for the registration of a new vehicle (two-year initial inspection period).
Regulation of EV Supply Equipment
SB 1001/HB 3343 by Senator Schwertner and Representative Ken King would authorize the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) and the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to regulate electric vehicle supply equipment.
EV Charging Market Framework
SB 1002/HB 3508 by Senator Schwertner and Representative Hernandez would prohibit electric, transmission and distribution utilities from using ratepayer funds to subsidize their own EV charging stations. The legislation also requires any utility that does offer EV charging to only do so through a separate subsidiary.
Protecting Energy Choice
HB 2374/SB 1017 by Representative Landgraf and Senator Birdwell would protect energy choice by preventing political subdivisions from adopting or enforcing regulations that limit access to specific fuel sources or prohibit the sale of engines based on their fuel source.
UST Monitoring/Reporting Rule Modernization
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is up for “Sunset Review” by the Texas Legislature in the 2023 Legislative Session. TCEQ is the state agency that regulates underground storage tanks in Texas. TFFA is working with the agency in the lead up to the sunset process to help modernize and streamline some areas of the UST program.