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If you want Sunday beer sales demand it right now.


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Despite public sentiment, Sundays likely to stay dry for now

Election-year politics gets in the way of letting voters decide on alcohol sales.

By JAMES SALZER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 02/12/08 http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/sto...booze_0212.html

Two-thirds of Georgians who answered a recent poll said they want the right to vote on allowing stores to sell beer, wine and booze on Sunday.

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Ben Gray/AJC

(ENLARGE)

Sen. David Shafer (R-Duluth) is chairman of a group that supports Sunday liquor sales and free-market principles.

RELATED:

" More about this year's Legislature

Your Turn

Are you in favor of selling alcohol on Sundays?

Yes 91.09% 1912

No, for religious reasons 3.38% 71

No, for other reasons 2.14% 45

I don't care. 3.38% 71

A free-market Republican caucus that includes several state Senate leaders calls the Sunday sales vote a "no-brainer."

And grocery and convenience stores say their customers, many of whom do their weekly shopping on Sunday, demand the right to buy alcoholic beverages in their stores.

But Senate leaders have signaled that they won't even hold a committee hearing on the issue, despite a fresh push by lobbyists and groups backing Sunday sales.

"I can't explain it other than to say it's caught up in election-year politics," said Sen. Seth Harp (R-Midland), who sponsored the Sunday sales bill last year. "I have told those supporting the bill to lobby the lieutenant governor and his staff."

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the Senate president, isn't budging.

"At this time, there simply has not been any kind of broad expression of support for a vote on Sunday sales this year from Senate members or from the citizens of our state," said his spokeswoman, Jaillene Hunter.

Nonetheless, groups lobbying for the bill, including grocery and convenience stores, are planning to mount a fresh campaign in coming weeks in hopes of convincing lawmakers that Georgians support Sunday sales.

They are putting up a Web site, called votesundaysales.com, that will promote the bill and make it easy for Georgians to contact their lawmakers.

The Sunday sales bill would allow communities to decide whether they want to allow beer, wine and liquor sales at stores on Sundays. Currently, Georgia is one of three states that ban Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages at stores.

Polls have consistently shown strong support for letting Georgians vote on Sunday beer and wine sales, particularly in the metro area. Last month, in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll, 65 percent said they back the concept.

However, religious conservatives have strongly opposed such sales, saying alcohol shouldn't be peddled on the Christian sabbath. Some liquor store owners, including those with political connections to Gov. Sonny Perdue and Cagle, have also opposed the idea. Liquor store opponents don't want the expense of being open on Sundays just so grocery and convenience stores can make more sales.

The bill narrowly passed Senate Regulated Industries chairman David Shafer's committee last session. But it was stalled by Cagle and other Senate leaders.

This year, with every lawmaker up for re-election and many Republicans reluctant to go against religious conservatives, the measure may again go nowhere. Critics of the bill say convenience and grocery store lobbyists are merely resurrecting the issue this session to make it look to the people who pay them that they're moving the issue forward without any chance of it winning legislative approval.

Shafer, a Duluth Republican, said last week that he hasn't scheduled a hearing on the bill because Harp hadn't asked for one. Later that day, Harp asked for a hearing.

To that, Shafer responded: "We have over a dozen bills assigned to us thus far and we will work through them as they are requested by the bill sponsors."

Shafer is honorary chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Georgia, a group that advocates for limited government, individual liberty and free-market principles. The group strongly supports the Sunday sales bill, but some of its members, including Cagle and Senate President Pro-tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), do not.

However, lawmakers who oppose Sunday sales often cite religious objections.

Religious conservatives dominate many Republican legislative districts, and GOP lawmakers support issues like Sunday sales at their political peril.

"There doesn't seem to be a compelling reason to chip away at the Sabbath," Johnson said.

"This is also the party that gave [Mike] Huckabee a victory in Georgia. The evangelical Christian voters are probably the largest single group turning out in the Republican primary."

In the Feb. 5 Republican presidential primaries, 64 percent of voters in exit polls described themselves as "born again" or evangelical Christians.

Chris Farris, chairman of the Liberty Caucus, sees Sunday sales as a free-market issue that matches basic Republican principles.

"It's not only a no-brainer for the caucus, it should really be a non-brainer for a Legislature that is controlled by a party that supposedly espouses the free market," Farris said.

While several members of his caucus who oppose the bill are counted among the Senate leadership, Farris said it appears that Perdue a religious conservative who doesn't drink is the stumbling block. Perdue all but threatened to veto the bill, saying Georgians should show better "time management" if they want to purchase alcoholic beverages by buying them on other days of the week.

"The Senate saw no reason to pass a bill the governor was going to veto and irritate one faction of the [Republican] party without getting any benefit for the other faction, the free-market side," Farris said.

Still, he said he's not giving up.

"My hope is it will get a hearing in committee this year," Farris said. "The RLC is going to press for that."

It is time for action. I am not here to debate Sunday beer sales. I am here for one reason. I am mad as **** and not going to take it anymore. We have 5 million people in Atlanta out of 9 million people here in GA. In the the AJC poll 91% of the people favor putting this issue on the ballot and letting voters have a choice to decide their own morals. If it fails so be it at least we have a chance to be heard Those against this vote against it. Those for it get off your butts and start sending emails, call people and tell all your friends to do the same. This was my email to Casey Cagle. I will be sending it to Sonny Perdue my state senator and congressman as well.

Dear Casey Cagle:

I voted for you because I thought you would be different than Ralph Reed. You say you are not sure if Sunday beer sales is an important issue to GA voters yet every poll shows otherwise by an overwhelming degree. Atlanta has a population of 5 million people in this state of 9 million people. We have to put up with the worst traffic in the country. America is paying the highest gas prices it ever has. Most people in Atlanta have a commute time of basically another work day in commute time alone. If on Sunday I want to be able to drive 15 miles to a store that sells my favorite microbrew beer not sold locally without commuter traffic I should be able to do it. If I want to have fewer trips to save gas on weekends to run errands I should be able to do it. Hear me now since you guys aren't sure what voters want either put it on the ballot at next election or my vote will be reflective of the fact that those in office deem some voters wishes as more important than the majority which favor this bills passage. What harm is there in voter choice? I think we all know that this next election will bring about a lot of change I hope you understand that. I will be looking very hard at all the issues and this is at the top for me.

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As a non-drinker, I can't feel you guys' plight, (or how on earth you guys can actually drink and enjoy drinking that crap), but I do think this temperance movement is a tad outdated.

But then, Southern values have always been pretty strong, especially to last this long.

Hmmmm.....maybe I should become a Sunday bootlegger...

$$$$$$$$$

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gritzblitz56 (2/12/2008)
Sorry, but our esteemed state legislature is busy with far more pressing issues like the UF license plate issue.:rolleyes:

If alcohol cannot be sold on the Christian sabbath, then its only fair that bacon and sausage should not be sold on the Jewish sabbath, right?

Is there a Rastafarian Sabbath? Surely in the interest of consistency the legislature will immediately require the sale of marijuana on that day.....

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Statick (2/12/2008)
As a non-drinker, I can't feel you guys' plight, (or how on earth you guys can actually drink and enjoy drinking that crap), but I do think this temperance movement is a tad outdated.

But then, Southern values have always been pretty strong, especially to last this long.

Hmmmm.....maybe I should become a Sunday bootlegger...

$$$$$$$$$

It would help if you viewed it not as an alcohol issue, but an issue of the police power of government being used to enforce the values of one particular religion above all others.

That's my problem with it.

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gritzblitz56 (2/12/2008)

It would help if you viewed it not as an alcohol issue, but an issue of the police power of government being used to enforce the values of one particular religion above all others.

That's my problem with it.

Yeah, as someone who hasn't had a drink in five years I couldn't care less. As someone who isn't particularly fond of christianity I think it's pretty messed up.
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falkonX7 (2/12/2008)
gritzblitz56 (2/12/2008)

It would help if you viewed it not as an alcohol issue, but an issue of the police power of government being used to enforce the values of one particular religion above all others.

That's my problem with it.

Yeah, as someone who hasn't had a drink in five years I couldn't care less. As someone who isn't particularly fond of christianity I think it's pretty messed up.

It's not on Christianity. I don't recall reading anything in scripture prohibiting the consumption of alcohol. It's those who practice their own particular brand of Christianity and more importantly believe that their brand should be enforced on the citizenry by gunpoint.

That's as un-american as it gets, IMO.

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I am a Libertarian now I used to be more Republican before I found out my voice was no longer heard in this party. I usually vote for Libertarians. I will tell you one thing right now if this is not on the ballot at next election my vote will be straight Democrat on every office. I truly believe if you have no other choice vote for gridlock. Given no choice voting straight democratic ticket in GA may give us gridlock which might be better than one party rule as we now have in GA. I am sick and tired of having no voice at all.

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cord2001 (2/12/2008)
I am a Libertarian now I used to be more Republican before I found out my voice was no longer heard in this party. I usually vote for Libertarians. I will tell you one thing right now if this is not on the ballot at next election my vote will be straight Democrat on every office. I truly believe if you have no other choice vote for gridlock. Given no choice voting straight democratic ticket in GA may give us gridlock which might be better than one party rule as we now have in GA. I am sick and tired of having no voice at all.

I left the republican party for the same reasons. They have demonstrated repeatedly that they are not interested in individual freedom and limited government. Sadly, when you vote Democrat, you are just choosing one flavor of government oppression over another.

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cord2001 (2/12/2008)
I am a Libertarian now I used to be more Republican before I found out my voice was no longer heard in this party. I usually vote for Libertarians. I will tell you one thing right now if this is not on the ballot at next election my vote will be straight Democrat on every office. I truly believe if you have no other choice vote for gridlock. Given no choice voting straight democratic ticket in GA may give us gridlock which might be better than one party rule as we now have in GA. I am sick and tired of having no voice at all.

I don't think that action would be very beneficial and that you'd find out you'd have even less of a voice.

I'd go with writing Congressmen and be persistent.

I don't drink much of anything anymore but I do think Sunday sales ban should be put to a vote at the very least...

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gritzblitz56 (2/12/2008)

It's not on Christianity. I don't recall reading anything in scripture prohibiting the consumption of alcohol. It's those who practice their own particular brand of Christianity and more importantly believe that their brand should be enforced on the citizenry by gunpoint.

That's as un-american as it gets, IMO.

You know what I was saying. I meant I'm already not that big of a fan of the christian religion, much less having its 'values' forced on to me by some hypocritical holy rollers. Pretty much what you are saying.
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prolikewhoa (2/12/2008)
HA! Look at that poll. 91% in favor of sales on Sunday.

Let us vote!

"At this time, there simply has not been any kind of broad expression of support for a vote on Sunday sales this year from Senate members or from the citizens of our state," said his spokeswoman, Jaillene Hunter.

How's that for arrogant?

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gritzblitz56 (2/12/2008)
It's not on Christianity. I don't recall reading anything in scripture prohibiting the consumption of alcohol. It's those who practice their own particular brand of Christianity and more importantly believe that their brand should be enforced on the citizenry by gunpoint.

That's as un-american as it gets, IMO.

bingo.jpg

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I absolutely believe in choice I am even willing to make one of the choices an absolute ban of all sales of alcohol on Sunday at restaurants, Braves games, Falcons games everything. Let majority rule and let it be decided by ballot iniative. I even hope those who oppose me on this issue email those in charge.

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cord2001 (2/12/2008)
I absolutely believe in choice I am even willing to make one of the choices an absolute ban of all sales of alcohol on Sunday at restaurants, Braves games, Falcons games everything. Let majority rule and let it be decided by ballot iniative. I even hope those who oppose me on this issue email those in charge.

Your problem is that "majority rule" is not how we do things in this country.

Prohibition of alcohol sales only on Sunday is an establishment. Period. It is unconstitutional and abhorrent to American principles of government.

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Statick (2/12/2008)
As a non-drinker, I can't feel you guys' plight, (or how on earth you guys can actually drink and enjoy drinking that crap), but I do think this temperance movement is a tad outdated.

But then, Southern values have always been pretty strong, especially to last this long.

Hmmmm.....maybe I should become a Sunday bootlegger...

$$$$$$$$$

Alcohol Blue laws have very little to do with "temperance movements". They were devised by businessmen who grow tired of seeing half their employees laying out every Monday. Attaching the initial laws to religion merely cemented their passage, for obvious reasons.

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