Businesses Defend Tubers’ Right to Drink

     NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas (CN) – Nine businesses and a tourist group challenged a New Braunfels law that prohibits people from carrying “food and beverage products in disposable containers” on the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers – popular destinations for inner-tube riders.
     The plaintiffs call it an illegal back-door way to try to regulate the drinking of alcohol on the rivers.
     Lead plaintiff the Tourist Associated Businesses of Comal County says the city law usurps the state’s powers. The businesses call it an “illegal and unconstitutional exercise of city power to regulate the use of navigable waterways owned by the State of Texas.”
     The businesses, which include convenience stores and stores that rent inner tubes, say they “substantially rely on the river traffic for their economic livelihood” and say the ordinance will “significantly decrease the recreational use” of the rivers.
     They call the city’s Disposable Container Ordinance an “impermissible attempt to regulate alcoholic beverages … another thinly veiled attempt to regulate alcohol consumption on the public waterways by eliminating the possession of the aluminum cans and glass bottles from which they are consumed.”
     They say the law violates the Texas Constitution.
     They seek declaratory relief and s permanent injunction.
     They are represented by Jim Ewbank, with Ewbank & Harris, of Austin.

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