In a remarkable resurrection, the bill that would allow alcohol sales on Sunday, passed the very body – the state Senate – that had vowed to let it languish in committee. And languish it did for a month before its recovery last week.
The bill, Senate Bill 10, that passed 32-22 would only allow local municipalities to put the question of Sunday alcohol sales on the ballot. Each community could vote it up or down. In reality, most Georgians have moved on. Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants have dimmed the expected clamor, and most state senators see having Sunday sales in convenience stores and supermarkets as not that much different.
While some voted touting Sunday sales as an economic boost with more taxes rolling into the state’s piggy banks that, however, is unlikely, unless you suppose Sunday sales will inspire more Georgians to drink. Most likely, the sales will even out without the buildup leading to Sunday.
What this bill does, rather what citizens will decide, is whether stores will have to darken very profitable store aisles one day a week. Most liquor stores were not on the Sunday sales bandwagon. They don’t see the measure as an economic boon, just another day they might have to stay open without a significant uptick in sales.
There remains a bow to the religious sector of the community. Sales would not be allowed before 12:30 p.m. Sunday and would end at 11:30 p.m., but let’s be serious, Georgia is one of three states that does not allow Sunday alcohol sales. However, we have a lottery that, just because it supports aspects of education, is still gambling. When that door was opened by former Gov. Zell Miller, it was only a matter of time before Sunday alcohol sales came up for approval. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue kept the idea at bay during his administration, but Gov. Nathan Deal has shown no compunction to hold the state in the 19th century.