Crossover Day at the Legislature (the day by which a bill must pass one chamber if it’s to become law as standalone legislation this year) is Wednesday, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting half-week. From Peach Pundit:
Sunday Sales advocates rejoice. The Senate Republican caucus has just voted and SB 10 will be allowed out of Rules and will be voted on as a stand alone bill, not as an amendment to SB 150, on Wednesday.
There are some technical corrections that need to be made to SB 10, so expect amendments. I would envision the amendment process to get quite lively. If you enjoy good political theater, get down to the Capitol early Wednesday, and bring a Costco sized tub of popcorn.
The AJC’s Aaron Gould Sheinin says movement on the bill is somewhat more limited:
Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour, R-Snellville, said that SB 10 will come up for a vote in his committee on Tuesday, the final step before reaching the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Lobbyists on both sides of the issue were working feverishly when the Senate began its day. While the original Sunday sales bill, SB 10, remains on hold for at least one more day, another alcohol bill is expected to get a vote by the full Senate today. That bill, SB 150, would allow sales of alcohol in public golf courses on Sunday.
Lawmakers who support the original SB 10, which would allow local communities to vote whether to allow the sale of alcohol in stores on Sunday, have discussed trying to amend SB 150 to include the Sunday sales vote. Whether that will happen now is unclear since Senate Republicans have agreed to give SB 10 a vote in the Rules Committee. That committee is responsible for deciding which bills are debated by the full Senate.
The fight earlier this morning was over whether the Senate would use a parliamentary maneuver called engrossing to block amendments to SB 150. If a bill is engrossed, it has to be voted on as-is. If the engrossment effort fails, supporters of the Sunday sales vote could offer an amendment.
Is the Rules Committee vote intended to head off an attempt at attaching Sunday sales to SB 150? Is it an acknowledgment that Sunday sales would prevail as an amendment to SB 150? Does it give Sunday sales opponents (or proponents, for that matter) two targets rather than one — making it harder for them to quash it? I’m heading down to the Legislature shortly and will be looking for answers to these questions.
As for what should happen: It still seems to me that the party that claims to favor limited government and local control ought to allow voters to settle this issue for their own communities, once and for all. If Sunday sales are as unpopular and objectionable as opponents claim, there should be no danger in letting the issue move from a group of three dozen Republican senators to the broader public. If not, there’s no good reason to let those three dozen senators stand in the way on this issue.
– By Kyle Wingfield
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