Walmart Sues Texas To Sell Liquor

Walmart Sues Texas To Sell Liquor

WICHITA FALLS, TX - One of the nations largest retailers, Walmart, plans to sue the state of Texas for the right to sell hard liquor. Current Texas law prevents Walmart and other publicly traded companies from being able to hold beer, wine, and liquor licenses all at the same time. Walmart Spokeswoman Anne Hatfield out of San Antonio said that the current liquor laws in Texas are unfair and not in line with Texas' belief in free enterprise and fair competition.

"Special interest groups are trying to maintain the status quo and rationalize an unconstitutional loophole in Texas law which harms the citizens of Texas. On behalf of our Texas customers, we are prepared to pursue the case to provide Texans their freedom of choice," said Hatfield. 

Victor Kocks of Kocks Liquor believes that if Walmart is allowed to join in on selling hard alcohol that it won't only financially hurt local liquor stores like his but also hurt the community. Kocks believes Walmart is only in it to make a quick buck. 

"I know in particular Iowa Park and Burkburnett they've had stores in the past, they go in open a store and all the little stores the mom and pop stores go out of business and they leave town and then basically leave the city holding the bag," said Kocks. 

Current law says that a Texas liquor store holder is limited to no more than five package stores. Certain loopholes in the law do leave the door open for liquor businesses to expand beyond that. Many of the liquor store owners on the southern side of the Red River in our Texoma region own less than the allotted five store limit. Walmart says those loopholes have allowed for growth of family owned chains, some reaching near 100 stores to flood the state. 
Kock's family has been selling liquor for 40 years and is currently selling out of only one store off Kemp in Wichita Falls.

"I feel like we earned our right to be here where as Walmart it's just another hole in the wall for another product out of 1000 products that they have in a store. We've been trained to do this. We are licensed by the state so we're better at keeping track of people that are intoxicated or minors or so fourth. We specialize in this rather than sideline in it as some stores would do," said Kocks.  

A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently allowed the Texas Package Stores Association to join the lawsuit that Walmart has filed against the Lone Star State and the rules that have been set by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The TPSA said it had "no comment" on the recent decision. An Austin based judge named Robert Pitman has yet to announce a trail date for the lawsuit. 

Hatfield also mentioned that if Texas were to change its liquor laws Walmart would sell the alcohol out of separate buildings and not it's grocery stores.  

Jack Carney, Newschannel 6

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