The Union Recorder

Local News

April 13, 2011

Ga. Sunday alcohol sales bill heads to governor

MILLEDGEVILLE — Georgia communities would be able to decide whether stores can sell alcohol on Sundays under legislation headed to Gov. Nathan Deal for his signature.

The measure sailed through the House by a 127-44 vote Tuesday night as lawmakers moved into the homestretch of the 2011 legislative session. The bill last month passed the state Senate, where it had stalled for five years. The governor has indicated he'd sign it.

House sponsor, Republican state Rep. Roger Williams said the legislation is about local control

"It's about fairness," the Dalton Republican said. "It's not about religion. It's not about drinking."

"It's about letting your people back home express their views."

State Rep. Len Walker, a Loganville Republican, said that by that logic, most everything lawmakers consider should be decided at the ballot box.

"Why don't we extend the sanctity of local control to every measure we consider in this House of Representatives?" Walker said. "It may very well be that we want to extend the sanctity of local control when we don't have the courage to make a decision."

And state Rep. Randy Nix noted the bill was personal to him because his father was an alcoholic and Sunday was the one time he could rely on him not getting drunk.

Nix said the bill will undoubtedly "encourage and promote greater alcohol availability."

The Sunday sales measure has been one of the most closely watched — and heavily lobbied — this legislative session.

The bill had languished for years, facing intense opposition from religious groups and veto threat from Gov. Sonny Perdue, a teetotaler. Deal said while he doesn't drink he believes in democracy. Grocery and convenience stores have pushed hard for the change saying their customers have been clamoring for it.

The bill would allow local governments to decide whether to ask voters if they want to permit Sunday alcohol sales in grocery and conveniences stores from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays. Voters must approve the change and the Georgia Christian Coalition has pledged to fight the referendums on a local level.

Many restaurants and bars can already sell alcohol on Sunday.

Assuming Deal signs the bill, Sunday sales measures could be on ballots as soon as this fall.

Georgia is one of just three states that bans Sunday alcohol sale in stores. The other two are Connecticut and Indiana.

"I want to go ahead and say I'm glad that Georgia is joining the 21st Century," state Rep. Joe Heckstall, D-East Point, told fellow lawmakers Tuesday.

"We are out of the dark ages."

1
Text Only
Local News
Poll
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH)