Ga. Retailers Push for Sunday Alcohol Sales

If retailers in Georgia never get the opportunity to sell beer on Sunday, it won’t be from lack of effort.

Led by the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores (GACS), the Georgia Sunday Sales Coalition, which was formed for the 2007 legislative session by GACS and the Georgia Food Industry Association, is taking its fight for Sunday sales to the Web. The coalition today launched votesundaysales.com to rally public support for SB 137, a state law that would allow local voters to decide whether they want Sunday sales in their communities.

For many years, a large number of grocery and convenience store customers have been expressing the desire to purchase beer or wine while shopping and running errands on Sundays. During the 2007 session, the coalition worked to pass SB 137 on behalf of their customers. Unfortunately, SB 137 was not allowed a vote in the Georgia State Senate after passing out of committee. Georgia is one of just three states that does not provide some option for the off-premise sale of beer, wine or liquor on Sunday.

What’s more intriguing is that even with the passage of this legislation, not one single sale of alcohol will be made by a retailer on Sunday. The fight is simply for giving local communities "the opportunity to determine their own Sunday sales policies," the coalition said. However, a January Atlanta Journal Constitution-Mason Dixon poll found 65% of voters in favor of the legislation.

Since its inception, the coalition has received a tremendous outpouring of support from average Georgians wanting to help in the effort to pass Sunday sales legislation. This legislative session, coalition members are actively recruiting these everyday citizens in their effort to pass SB 137, and its gaining support from multiple groups including all of Georgia’s major newspapers, Former U.S. Representative Bob Barr, American Legislative Exchange Council and the Republican Liberty Caucus Legislative Committee.

"This gulf between talk of less government restriction on personal freedom and the reality of government control is evident in public comments by the Republican Senate leadership, the lieutenant governor and Governor Sonny Perdue, refusing to even allow formal consideration of referenda on Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages in grocery and convenience stores," Barr said.

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