A majority of Fort Bend’s neighbors to the south, in Brazoria County, voted last year to allow licensed stores to sell beer and wine.
However, according to a just-released opinion from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, such sales still are illegal in the cities of Sweeny and Richwood because residents elected to keep those areas – and all of what was the former Justice Precinct No. 5 – dry in prior elections.
Abbott issued his opinion at the request earlier this month of Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne.
According to records from Abbott’s office, retailers expressed interest to the Brazoria County Clerk in selling beer and wine in Sweeny and within Precinct 5 – where Richwood is located.
Also, Brazoria County voters approved the sale of alcoholic drinks in restaurants in the 2007 election, and some eating establishments have shown an interest in obtaining permits to do so in Sweeny and Precinct 5.
But that would be illegal, in Abbott’s opinion.
“Under the Alcoholic Beverage Code, the local option status of a voting unit can be changed only by an election held in that unit,” his opinion states. “Additionally, the local option status resulting from elections held in a justice precinct or a city contained in a county prevails against the status resulting from elections held in the larger county.”
Thus, Abbott’s opinion says, wine and beer sales remain unlawful in Sweeny, as do beer sales in Precinct 5, which includes Richwood.