Home / 2011-01-27 / Lift ban on Sunday alcohol sales

Lift ban on Sunday alcohol sales

 A new bill presented by the Georgia Senate may mean that the trips to Florida on Sundays simply to buy alcohol may be over, and it’s about time. Senate Bill 10 will allow counties and cities to make individual decisions about whether or not to allow beer, wine, and liquor sales on Sunday.

 Legislators have been trying to pass similar bills for a few years, but with religious tendencies of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, there was no way  it would happen.  Since he’s out of office, there may actually be a chance for this to pass.

 But then the debate will turn local. If the General Assembly gets this passed, the City of Valdosta will have to decide when to vote on whether or not Valdosta’s stores can sell beer, wine, and liquor on Sundays.

 Let’s hope this passes, and Valdosta votes yes. We’re not just saying this so beer pong games can be a weekend long event. We’re saying this for a number of reasons.

 The main reason- taxes from alcohol sales on Sunday can help boost the state economy which is something Georgia desperately needs.  Right now, the General Assembly is trying to reduce the current Fiscal Year’s budget because revenue isn’t as high as it should be. On top of that, the assembly is working on cuts for the next year. The University System is looking at close to $200 million in cuts.  Chancellor Errol Davis guaranteed that with a cut that size, tuition would be raised next year for all USG schools.

 Selling alcohol on Sundays will help offset this. 

Even though allowing alcohol to be sold on Sundays will help Georgia business owners and the state economy, people are adamant against stores selling on Sundays.

 Their reason, as a senator from Douglas put it in an interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “When I was growing up, they didn’t want you fishing, and they didn’t want you doing anything on Sunday. It’s the Lord’s Day. I would like us to hang on to that tradition of not having sales on Sundays.”

 First, the world today isn’t the same as when he was growing up. People do go fishing on Sundays, a lot of businesses are open on Sundays, and people are running errands on Sundays.
 Second, while we respect everyone’s religion, there is supposed to be a separation of church and state.  Saying that this bill should not become law because “it’s the Lord’s Day” isn’t upholding that separation. 

 In many cities in Georgia, alcohol sales in restaurants are allowed on Sundays. The law that guides this decision says that as long as a business has more profits from food sales than alcohol sales on Sundays, they can remain open.  OK, this isn’t exactly upholding the old tradition of every business closing on Sunday or even the tradition of not having alcohol sales on Sundays. Alcohol is being sold. It’s just not sold in packs. People are still getting intoxicated, but in public instead of their homes.

 The only difference between purchasing alcohol  in restaurants and purchasing alcohol at the grocery store on Sunday- you’ll pay more for a beer in a restaurant than in a grocery store.

 So, we encourage the Georgia General Assembly to pass this bill, and the citizens of Valdosta to vote yes when it shows up on a ballot.

This editorial was written by Amy Johstono (acjohstono@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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  1. I’m not sure why this is such a controversial issue when the majority of the US has already removed their blue laws, leaving Georgia as one of just three states to prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays. People who oppose changes in Georgia’s current policy on Sunday alcohol sales base their opinions or decisions mainly on one of two beliefs: that permitting the sale of alcohol on Sundays will lead to an increase in crime or alcohol related accidents, or that alcohol should not be sold on Sundays out of respect for the Sabbath. Those who fall into the first group need to check statistics on the number of alcohol related crimes and accidents on Sundays in the 47 states that currently hold no sanctions against the sale of alcohol on that day, as well as consider the fact that prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays does not necessarily prevent the use or abuse of alcohol for that one day, as people still drink Sundays regardless of whether or not they purchase it then. Those in the latter category, whose stance is from religious grounds, need to consider the fact that Sunday is not the Sabbath for all, and to prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays for that reason conflicts with the separation of church and state. There are also many liquor store owners who are against the sale of alcohol on Sundays, because it would force them to open their doors on their day off, making them spend more money on operation and employees. However, many grocery stores advocate for Sunday alcohol sales, as Sunday is now the second busiest shopping day of the week, and many people do their grocery shopping on Sundays. Grocery and convenient stores lose a substantial amount of revenue every week due to current sanctions preventing the sale of alcohol on Sundays. Permitting Sunday alcohol sales would increase sale revenue in the state of Georgia and would not lead to any significant problems–just take a look at the states who allow Sunday alcohol sales and the affect it has on their economies and communities as a whole. I think that the best solution would be to allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays in grocery and convenient stores, while allowing liquor stores to decide on their own whether or not they want to operate Sundays as well. While I personally think that would be the best solution, it should definitely be up to counties to make their own decisions regarding alcohol sales on Sundays.

  2. i know it would take some common sense nad forethought, but why not try doing what we did as young adults in ga, buy enough on saturday to cover sundays trip to the lake!!? I know it would take a “geenyus” to step forward and lead the group, and every group doesnt have one, but Im sure someone can figure it out

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