Voters Lose Control of Sunday Sale of Beer & Wine …
Unless the Governor Vetoes H.B. 124
The introductory paragraph of Representative Harrell’s H.B. 124 explains how retail sales of distilled spirits and other alcoholic beverages are, currently, governed and will be governed in the future. H.B. 124 secures the right of malt beverage businesses to sell on Sundays by removing the right of future voters to EVER prohibit Sunday retail package sales of malt beverages and wine. Malt beverages are made from barley or other grain that’s soaked and softened in water until it sprouts. Then, it’s kiln-dried, brewed and distilled into beer and ale.
H.B. 124, actually, nullifies future election results in which the majority of voters disapprove of Sunday retail package sales of malt beverages and wine. However, it DOES authorize future voters to STOP Sunday retail sales of distilled spirits, i.e. liquor (alcoholic drinks made by distillation), rum (made from fermented sugar cane or molasses) and whiskey (strong alcoholic liquor distilled from fermented mash of grain, especially rye, wheat, corn or barley). Both provisions are included in H.B. 124, which passed March 4th.
H.B. 124, plainly, states: If more than one-half of the votes cast on the question are for disapproval of Sunday package sales by retailers of malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M., such rejection shall not nullify the prior election results for approval of Sunday package sales by retailers of malt beverages and wine on Sundays between the hours of 12:30 P.M. and 11:30 P.M. pursuant to subsection (p) of this Code section.” (Page 2, lines 40 – 44)
H.B. 124 expands the definition of “retailer” or “retail dealer” to include a business that, primarily, sells distilled spirits and unbroken packages of malt beverages and wine, not for consumption on the premises, and whose retail sale of such is at least 75 percent of its total annual gross sales. (Page 3, lines 64 – 66)
Unless the governor vetoes H.B. 124, these things will happen: (1) Sunday retail package sales of malt beverages and wine will continue, regardless of the outcome of future referenda. (2) Sunday retail package sales of malt beverages and wine are permanent, UNLESS future legislators amend this law and return power to voters. (3) Sunday sales of hard liquor and whiskey will be the only alcoholic beverage sales voters may prohibit.
Although it’s obvious the bill protects beer, ale and wine businesses at the expense of community values, some retailers have been reluctant to open their business on Sunday for a very good reason – it’s not worth the trouble! They’ve learned that Sunday customers are those that formerly bought alcoholic beverages Monday through Saturday, but now wait until Sunday to spend the same amount of money. So, opening on Sunday ADDS to the retailers’ cost of doing business with no increased profit!
If H.B. 124 is not vetoed, it automatically becomes law July 1st.
ACTION – Before May 7th, call 404 656-1776 and ask Governor Deal to VETO H.B. 124.
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