The Can Ban

May 24, 2012

The City of New Braunfels passed a city ordinance back in August banning the use of disposable containers on the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers within the city limits. A political action committee calling themselves Can the Ban, composed primarily of local business owners, gathered enough support for a referendum to be held. 26% of New Braunfels voters turned out, about 9,000, agreed with the city and upheld the decision.

A group of business owners is suing the City of New Braunfels, in a lawsuit filed last year, claiming the ban is unconstitutional because state laws prohibit cities from mandating alcohol use on waterways. The coalition argues that by banning disposable containers alcohol is in effect banned.

The lawsuit named a state agency as a defendant which placed the suit in the jurisdiction of Travis County and was heard in Austin this week. A Travis County district judge dismissed that defendant and sent the case to the Comal County Court.

City officials are pleased with this decision. They want the case heard in New Braunfels because the voice of the voters has already been heard. Or has it? 26% of the registered voters in New Braunfels turned out to cast a vote. That means 74% of the voting population did not vote.

One of the primary arguments in support of the ban is minimizing the amount of litter on the rivers. Supporters say that the cleanliness of the rivers has dramatically improved since the ban went into effect.

For now, the ban is upheld. A Comal County judge will determine whether or not the ban is unconstitutional. As it is, local businesses on the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers stand to lose a considerable amount of revenue this season due to a significant number of would-be tubers avoiding the rivers since they can’t take their coolers of beer, especially this Memorial Day weekend. and