April 21, 2017 Radio Commentary

Big-Time Correction!

Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, April 21, 2017 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler

I need to correct an error I made last week in my report. When I re-read H.B. 510, I found that only the (d) Section of Georgia Code 3-3-21 is being repealed, and there’s no possibility that a casino or liquor store or beer garden will be built next to a school or church or public housing development in Georgia.

That means, H.B. 510 is a good bill that repeals Section (d) to equalize distance requirements on alcoholic businesses in all counties, regardless of population. Currently, counties with 175,000 to 195,000 residents are required to measure distances from the property-line of the business to the property-line of the school, church or housing development. H.B. 510, simply, makes the distance from building-to-building in highly populated counties, as it always has been in other counties.

When H.B. 510 becomes law July 1st, sales of distilled spirits will continue to be no less than 200 yards from a school or college or other educational building; the sale of wine or other malt beverages will continue to be at least 100 yards away, and restrictions on selling liquor-by-the-drink in hotels, private clubs and other businesses will not change.By repealing section (d) of current law, the 100 yards or 200 yards could become a little different in about a dozen highly populated counties, because land mass won’t be included in the measurement; but distances will be standard in all counties, meaning churches, schools and housing developments will continue to be protected. The mandatory distance between the two is measured by the most direct route between the buildings.

I’m, particularly, glad that our legislators are wise enough to make the measurements apply building-to-building for such businesses, regardless of population and the size of the grounds on which the building stands. While equalizing the distances, they retained Georgia’s standard of protecting children against alcohol, and that’s a good thing!

On the subject of elections, we can be grateful that seven bills to weaken voter protection failed to pass this session, although they remain alive for 2018. S.B. 34 would’ve repealed voter ID requirements; H.B. 20 would’ve made voter registration automatic when a driver’s license or ID card is issued, renewed, or altered; S. B. 37 increased advanced voting times; H.B. 520 allowed continuing requests for absentee ballots as long as the elector is registered.

Each change would have increased the possibility of voter fraud. Thankfully, they all failed to pass! For Georgia Insight I’m Sue Ella Deadwyler, your Capitol correspondent.