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31 January 2011

Georgians Should Decide the Issue of Sunday Alcohol Sales

Four years ago next month, state Senator Seth Harp introduced a bill that would allow Georgians to decide whether their communities would allow alcohol to be sold on Sunday.

The legislation, Senate Bill 137, was sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators. S.B. 137 made it out of committee, but the bill never made it to the floor for a vote.

The 2011 legislative session has seen a renewed interest in passing Sen. Harp's bill.

In the House and in the Senate, a bipartisan group of legislators have again introduced bills to allow each individual county and/or municipality the opportunity to vote on whether to allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays from 12:30PM to 11:30PM.

Simply put, if Senate Bill 10 or House Bill 69 were passed, voters would face the following question at the ballot box:

"Shall the governing authority of (name of county or municipality) be
authorized to permit and regulate package sales by retailers of both malt
beverages and wine on Sundays from 12:30 P.M. until 11:30 P.M.?

All those in favor would vote yes. All those opposed would vote no, and if more than one-half of the votes cast were in favor of Sunday alcohol sales, then the referendum would stand approved.

These two bills, H.B. 69 and S.B. 10, are not far-reaching pieces of legislation that affects the entire state. All these bills do is give each county or city the opportunity to decide whether Sunday alcohol sales is for them. These bills put decision-making power in the hands of the people where it belongs.