Category: Sunday Sales

Bank Requesting De-annexation From The City Of Fort Oglethorpe Over Sunday Sales

Legislation and elections have consequences.  Sunday sales legislation passed a few years ago allows counties and municipalities to put for a referendum to the electorate on whether or not that county or municipality will be allowed to sell alcohol on Sunday.  An interesting thing happened in Catoosa County this past election cycle:  Sunday sales passed in Ringgold and unincorporated Catoosa County.  Fort Oglethorpe offered up the referendum in 2011, but it failed to gain a majority.

So, you have an area that prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sundays mostly surrounded by an area that allows it.  Now, here comes along Northwest Georgia Bank that has foreclosed upon some 41 acres of land zoned as commercial within the city.  It’s trying to get those pieces off of its books, so what does the bank in question do?  Seek the de-annexation of the property from the City of Fort Oglethorpe.  The rationale?  The parcels might sell contingent on the ability to sell alcohol on Sundays.  From CatWalkChatt (a conglomeration of the Catoosa County News and Walker County Messenger):

“We have been in negotiations to sell the property subject to the availability of Sunday alcohol sales,” bank executive vice president Kerry Riley told the city council on Feb. 11, prior to them refusing to vote on the de-annexation.
Read more

Douglasville Mayor Vetoes Sunday Sales Bill Passed By City Council

According to CBS Atlanta, voters in Douglasville won’t be able to decide on whether or not they can purchase alcohol on Sundays.  The city council passed a ballot measure that city voters would vote upon during the November general election, but measure was vetoed by Mayor Harvey Persons.  Mayor Persons also vetoed a measure that would have allowed bars to serve alcohol until 2a on Sunday morning.

The Douglasville Patch has a letter from the Mayor explaining why he vetoed both measures:

“The Douglasville Mayor has the authority to veto any action of the City Council,” reads the statement. “These two vetoes will be reported officially to the City Council during its Tuesday, May 15, legislative work session. The City Council during its regular meeting on Monday, May 21, can override each of the Mayor’s vetoes should five members vote to do so.”

“I opposed this change in the City’s current ordinance because I believe it negatively would impact the public safety of the City and would result in our streets and roads becoming more dangerous,” Persons said of extending pouring hours till 2 a.m. on Sunday.

Regarding letting voters have the chance to vote on a Nov. 6 Sunday sales referendum, the Mayor said, “I am opposed to this, and I feel there already is sufficient time during the week when people can make purchases of packaged beer, wine, and spirituous liquor.”

As stated, the City Council has the option to override one or both of the Mayor’s vetoes if they feel so inclined.


The Politics of Sunday Sales

I’ve written before that I live in an area of the state (and I’m sure multiple areas like mine exist) where the buying and consumption of alcohol is looked upon as buying a hooker. Ok, maybe not that bad, but generally looked down upon by those of the Baptist denomination. My county commissioner hasn’t indicated if she will place the issue to the voters, but there are a few areas in Northwest Georgia that will be offering up Sunday Sales as an option to voters.

A few of these municipalities and counties will be holding the referendum vote this year…an off-year election. I expect it’ll pass in a lot of places, but I expect it will not pass in some of the more “hard core” social conservative areas. My question is, will voters be willing to punch the button for Sunday Sales in order to capture tax revenue that is flowing to other states?

Come Election Day in November, we’ll see which side will win out.

Sunday sales could be on the ballot in Covington

A referendum that would allow Sunday alcohol sales could be on the ballot in the City of Covington in November:

Sunday alcohol sales could come to Covington this year, as the city considers including a referendum on sales with the Nov. 8 city council election.

The Georgia General Assembly recently passed a bill allowing Sunday package sales in Georgia at the discretion of local governments, and Gov. Nathan Deal has said he will sign the bill into law.
Mayor Kim Carter said she is in favor of a public vote on the issue and City Attorney Ed Crudup is researching the process. The council will have to approve a resolution to put the issue on the ballot.

“I am always in favor of letting the voters decide on issues and, thus, I am 100 percent in favor of passing a resolution to allow the issue to be placed on the ballot,” Carter said in a Tuesday email. “From a public safety perspective, people that choose to drink on Sunday are already allowed to do so in restaurants. It will be much safer to allow folks to purchase alcohol in the form of package sales on Sunday and consume it at home instead of driving after drinking.”

Councilman Chris Smith also said Tuesday he supported letting the taxpayers vote on Sunday package sales.

Carter said she had not heard from any business owners, but residents had expressed support for a referendum.

Porterdale may also consider Sunday sales before this year’s municipal election. No doubt the demagogues will be telling us how this is going to cause more accidents in Newton County; a point that has been refuted thoroughly.

Senator Jeff Mullis’ Statement on Sunday Sales

Not that we haven’t beat the dead horse of Sunday Sales enough already on Peach Pundit (A.D.D. Moment: Would SB 10 be considered a zombie bill since it came back from the dead?), but my state senator, Jeff Mullis, issued this statement about why he voted for SB 10 on crossover day (via CatWalkChatt):

“Let me first state that I am against the sale of alcohol on Sundays. I highly doubt that this referendum would ever come to a vote in our district. If it did come to a ballot, I would vote against Sunday sales, and I am certain it would fail.”

“The main issue in this particular legislation is my belief in local control of public policy. I have supported local control since my first day in office. Every single decision on the sale of alcohol in Georgia has been decided at the local level, and Sunday sales should be no different. Senate bill 10 would allow for every community to decide for themselves if they want to sell alcohol or not. My passion for local control is why I voted in favor of SB 10.”

“Another major factor for my ‘yes’ vote is my belief that giving local communities the power to hold their own referendums more than likely frees rural counties from being mandated to sell alcohol on Sundays. Currently, the Georgia General Assembly is controlled by mostly urban and suburban members. If SB 10 failed, there could be a chance that the legislature could form a coalition and mandate the state as a whole sell alcohol as many of the metro counties support Sunday sales. Instead, we now have given every community, regardless of their stance on this issue, to decide if it is in the best interests of their citizens.”

Read more

It’s Really, Really Dead. Again.

Let me quote from a classic, with Sunday Sales as the Wicked Witch of the East (and the bane of the Senate’s existance):

As mayor of the Munchkin City
In the county of the land of Oz
I welcome you most regally

But we’ve got to verify it legally
To see…

To see…

If she…

If she…

Is morally, ethically

(Munchkin 1)
Spiritually, physically

(Munchkin 2)
Positively, absolutely

(Munchkin Men)
Undeniably and reliably dead!

As Coroner, I thoroughly examined her
And she’s not only merely dead,
She’s really most sincerely dead

It didn’t have a House fall on it.  It had a Senate cave.  Read more

Further Obfuscating Sunday Sales Vote, Noted Constitutional Scholars Seabaugh And Hill Question Legality Of All Georgia Alcohol Sales

I am always amazed when some insist on playing checkers when the world is playing chess.

On September 3rd, 2009,Senator Judson Hill rushed to all available microphones, flanked by fellow Senators including Mitch Seabaugh, to deploy a novel pre-emptive strike against Obama Care.  They asserted the en vogue 10th Amendment, and stated flatly that any attempt of the Federal Government to involve itself in medical delivery in Georgia was unconstitutional and would be stopped.

It was a strong bold move that seized the moment – until the first question was asked.

“So, you’re saying that Medicare will now be unconstitutional in Georgia?”

“Ummmm.  We’ll get back to you on that….”

Fast forward to 16 February 2011.  Senators are contorting themselves to figure out how to not go on the record over Sunday  Sales – again – and Senators Seabaugh and Hill are questioning Georgia’s Constitution in allowing for local referendums to regulate the sale of alcohol at the local level, which they questioned may be reserved as a State function.  Read more

Sunday sales update

Word is that State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) is arguing – post-caucus meeting – that local referenda on Sunday alcohol sales violates the United States Constitution. Uh, seriously?

Seabaugh said:

Others, such as Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R- Sharpsburg, said he believes it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to decide for the state. Georgia should not be a state where every issue is decided by referendums, he said.

Seabaugh said he would not vote in support of the legislation.

His absurd claims of unconstitutionality aside, Seabaugh does have a point about the legislature punting tough issues to voters. We’ve seen that year after year, whether it’s funding for trauma care or tax hikes to fund transportation. I’m not in favor of these things, but these guys are elected to make these decisions. Why have a legislature if they are going to constantly defer to voters rather than cast tough votes?

Anyway, the caucus meeting gave Senators an opportunity to voice their opinions. No consensus was reached (not that they were trying to do so), but leadership will do a vote count later today to see if support is there to bring the bill forward.

[UPDATE] I spoke with Sen. Seabaugh about his comments. He says, contrary to my sources (who could have just misunderstood what Seabaugh said), that he has only raised the question about referendum because the state Constitution gives the legislature the ability to regulate alcohol.

Article III, Section VI, Paragraph VII of the Georgia Constitution states, “The State of Georgia shall have full and complete authority to regulate alcoholic beverages and to regulate, restrict, or prohibit activities involving alcoholic beverages. This regulatory authority of the state shall include all such regulatory authority as is permitted to the states under the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This regulatory authority of the state is specifically delegated to the counties and municipalities of the state for the purpose of regulating, restricting , or prohibiting the exhibition of nudity, partial nudity, or depictions of nudity in connection with the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages; and such delegated regulatory authority may be exercised by the adoption and enforcement of regulatory ordinances by the counties and municipalities of this state. A general law exercising such regulatory authority shall control over conflicting provisions of any local ordinance but shall not preempt any local ordinance provisions not in direct conflict with general law.”

The term “regulation” is open ended. Regulations can be defined by statutory law, including allowing counties and municipalities the ability to hold a referendum on the issue. Seabaugh’s question is weak.

Sunday Sales and the Big Picture: A Message to Republicans

There’s already been a lot posted on this whole Sunday Sales deal but I figured what the heck.

There are tons of other issues that are far more pressing right now in Georgia than whether or not alcohol should be bought and sold on Sundays. I get that, and quite frankly, I’m tired of the discussion over it dominating everything year after year. It’s very easy to take the perspective of “let’s vote on it and move on with life” and, in many ways, that’s the most common sense approach to take.

But I think there’s a bigger picture here. On one level it comes back to the fundamental principle of letting people decide for themselves (which I strongly support). That’s a principle that has been clearly discussed and established and there is no point in me going  on about it here.

So what is the big picture? For Republicans specifically. Read more

Headed For Speedy Passage Last Week, Sunday Sales Bill Now Appears Dead For Session

Today’s column from the Courier Herald.  Yes, I realize you may be feeling there’s a bit of overkill with the Sunday Sales posts today.  No, it’s not the only issue we care about around here.  But it is one where perhaps the amount of double talk, false support, and lack of intestinal fortitude seems to waste a good 10-15 days per session of the general assembly, only to vaporize into an effort of futility.  It’s time to quit wasting time with this issue.  It’s time for a recorded vote.

It was just last Monday that I wrote that the battle over Sunday sales of alcohol was over before it began, and that the Christian Coalition had decided it had been outflanked, while the Chamber of Commerce was putting on a full court press to gain the bill’s passage.  One week later, as is often the case in politics, the bill now appears to be dead for the session.

The bill, officially known as SB 10, does not in and of itself make alcohol sales from liquor, convenience and grocery stores legal on Sunday.  It legalizes a process that would allow local governments to determine if they wanted to put before their citizens a vote to determine if local community standards supported expanded alcohol sales.  Supporters have positioned the bill as a vote for local control.  Opponents have fought the bill as an abomination.

While newly elected Governor Deal had indicated he – a non drinker – would sign the bill, it appears that some severe miscalculations and a lack of intestinal fortitude among some senior Senators have again doomed the bill to another year in committee, far away from a floor vote that would put Senators on record as to whether they actually support this bill or not. Read more

Wanted: Leadership in the Senate

When discussing the issue of Sunday alcohol sales with legislators in the past, I was told, “Well, if Sonny isn’t going to sign it, there is no use putting up a fight to pass it.” I didn’t like it, but I understood the point. So when Gov. Nathan Deal told the media that he would sign legislation allowing for local control on the issue on Sunday alcohol sales, I just assumed that it would get done.

Frankly, the leadership of the Senate has run out of excuses. Year after year, members go before constituents claiming to be a supporters of limited government. But when it comes to actually putting your words in practice, there is some new reason to explain why you can’t deliver. Now that Perdue isn’t around to blame, the excuse is special interest groups; either the religious right or protectionist liquor store owners that have been supporters in campaigns.

There is no denying at this point that the leadership in the Senate is completely lost. You’re elected by your to make tough choices and guide them forward. Yet, when asked where your caucus is at, you say you don’t know. Yeah, I find that hard to believe. If that is the kind of “leadership” Georgia can expect, resign now and let someone else step up that may actually have the courage to take a stand.

Yes, Georgia has other pressing issues, I’m not denying or downplaying that. But there is no more a basic issue of personal freedom than allowing Georgians to chose what they want to buy. End of story. But hey, at least I don’t have to worry about the government implanting a microchip on me without my permission.

You’ve Just Been Screwed Again By The Senate On Sunday Sales.

On this Charlie Brown Valentine’s Day Special, Lucy again had enticed Charlie Brown to kick the game winner.  And once again, fumblerooskie.  Sunday sales appears to be dead for this session.

Jim Galloway has this piece as a primer on some of the problems behind the amazing disappearing act of Sunday Sales again.  While his info is correct, there are a few other items that contributed to another amazing display of profiles in courage.  This includes behind the scenes actions of “liberty loving” Senators who are friends to Peach Pundit and who can’t bring themselves to vote for what they claim to us they represent.

I’ll have more to say on this in my column for tomorrow.  But for tonight, just rest easy knowing that the Senate made sure you got screwed this Valentine’s day.

H/T to Mike Hassinger for the Lucy and the Football reference.