Bill of the Week: Post-Bust Syndrome

Watson would plug holes in Downtown bar biz

Bill of the Week: Post-Bust Syndrome

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is – unsurprisingly – a very sober bunch, not much given to licensing exceptions. Austin Sen. Kirk Watson's SB 409 would allow them to make one, specifically when their by-the-book procedures are bar-blocking Downtown bidness.

At issue is the now-legendary 2012 bust/closing of nine clubs in the Great Club Cocaine Scandal, or as Richard Whittaker had it, "The Yassine Sixth Street Noir" (May 18, 2012). Hussein Ali "Mike" Yassine was convicted of money-laundering (amidst a myriad of other charges) and was awaiting sentencing, but he still nominally held the liquor licenses on the nine venues, as the TABC slow-rolled its ponderous wheels in getting those formally lifted.

As a result, nine prime Downtown locations were going begging (so to speak) for new owners who couldn't timely hope to get new licenses while the TABC claimed state prevented it from granting them as long as Yassine held tight.

Enter Watson's SB 409, which would authorize the agency to issue new permits while the termination action was pending, provided standard conditions had been met and the current holder had been "evicted from the premises under a final, nonappealable court judgment." As Watson put it on his web site, "This situation demonstrated the need for common sense reforms to protect law-abiding business and property owners from being impeded by regulations that were triggered by the illegal acts of others. S.B. 409 will achieve that by cutting down on red tape and correcting this situation in which common sense dictates one thing and the statute says something else. State agencies should have the discretion to accommodate a qualified, lawful businesses, and S.B. 409 would give it to them."

Since the bill (if passed) wouldn't take effect until Sept. 1, it's a little late to do much about Austin's specific Yassine Bar Vacuum. But since the Texas bar business is not renowned for legally squeaky-clean operations, it probably won't be long before the TABC can cite chapter and verse in issuing new licenses to successor owners of formerly disgraced venues.

Bottoms Up!

READ MORE
More 83rd Legislature
The End of the Dewhurst Era
The End of the Dewhurst Era
Will the Senate strip the powers of the next lite guv?

Richard Whittaker, June 5, 2014

No Room at the Health Care Inn
No Room at the Health Care Inn
State policies endangering women's lives in the Valley

Jordan Smith, Nov. 12, 2013

More Kirk Watson
Red Line Adds Trains, Subtracts Crowding
Red Line Adds Trains, Subtracts Crowding
$50 million TxDOT grant adds trains, improves Downtown station

Richard Whittaker, June 27, 2014

Libertarians Line Up for 2014 Election
Libertarians Line Up for 2014 Election
Far right could pose major headache for GOP next November

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 12, 2013

More by Michael King
Council: Not Only the Grove
Council: Not Only the Grove
Does anybody speak Zimmerman-ese?

Dec. 9, 2016

Mapping Prop. 1
Mapping Prop. 1

Dec. 9, 2016

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

83rd Legislature, SB 409, Kirk Watson, Mike Yassine

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)