A late jolt: A little Sunday sales diplomacy

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers surprised a few people around the state Capitol when he said that Senate legislation to permit package sales of alcohol on Sundays would not come up for a floor vote this week.

A call to Senate Rules Chairman Don Balfour quickly explained the situation. His committee, which supervises the flow of legislation in the Senate, has yet to meet – but will later this week.

However, Republican senators don’t want the Sunday sales bill to be the very first measure to hit the chamber floor. They’re loathe to be seen as thumbing their noses at conservative Christians, who – despite losing this fight – remain a vital constituency within the GOP.

Moreover, Balfour said, Republican senators would prefer that the first floor vote by the chamber be on a stated priority of the GOP caucus.

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One consideration may be a blistering, Feb. 4 letter to senators sent by the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns, which years ago was the most powerful religious voice in the state Capitol.

Read the entire letter here. A sampling:

”With all the problems facing the state of Georgia, we are flabbergasted at the dizzying speed with which Sunday alcohol sales legislation is moving through the state Senate. In years past, we have been permitted opportunity to share our views before the committees of the General Assembly studying this issue.

“This year, we received no notice of the hearing, learning of it after-the-fact from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. We are amazed that this legislation has been recommended to the Senate, after a single committee meeting of a few minutes length, with no dissenting or cautioning voices having been heard…..

The letter closed with an allusion to Pontius Pilate that senators couldn’t miss:

“Do not fall into the age-old trap of believing that you can ‘wash your hands’ of important and far-reaching decisions by deferring them to other officials or to the people.”

luckovich0208

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My AJC colleague Mike Luckovich has done a stellar job capturing the applause that Gov. Nathan Deal is enjoying from libertarian-minded voters for stating he would sign a Sunday sales bill.

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Via Facebook, state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, has announced that he would vote against the Sunday sales measure:

I understand the concerns of those who support Sunday sales of alcohol, however I stand with many in my district, the Georgia Baptist Convention, Georgia Conservatives in Action, and the Georgia Christian Coalition in opposing Sunday sales.

***
Throughout this morning, the House Non-Civil Judiciary Committee has been taking testimony for and against HB 87, a bill that would – among other things – put in place real penalties for local governments that use illegal immigrant labor in public works projects.

Which makes this piece by Randy Travis of Fox5 News extremely well-timed:

***
Michael Thurmond, the former Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate and state Labor Commissioner, has found gainful employment. He has joined the law firm of Butler, Wooten & Fryhofer. Thurmond will focus on serious personal injury cases, products liability, class actions, and whistleblower claims,
The law firm’s senior partner, Jim Butler of Columbus, is well-known in Democratic circles.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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41 comments Add your comment

Jeff

February 8th, 2011
12:14 pm

About that Judson Hill tweet: http://swgapolitics.com/index/2011/02/08/supporting-local-control/

As far as GCMC letter:

The talibaptists in this State have heard their voices heard loud and clear for quite a long time. EVERYONE knows where they stand already – AGAINST Liberty and FOR Theocracy. Isn’t it ironic that many of these exact same people decry any and all Muslim actions for fear of Sharia law “spreading to America”, yet SUPPORT Sharia law when it suits their purpose?

That’s right – Sunday alcohol bans are PART of Sharia law, and is practiced in such bastions of Freedom as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and a host of other Muslim Theocracies.

This bill should have passed YEARS ago. Heck, the thing does NOT EVEN ALLOW FOR A SINGLE DROP OF ALCOHOL TO BE SOLD. ALL it allows is for LOCAL CONTROL.

Ben

February 8th, 2011
12:28 pm

“I understand the concerns of those who support Sunday sales of alcohol, however I stand with many in my district, the Georgia Baptist Convention, Georgia Conservatives in Action, and the Georgia Christian Coalition in opposing Sunday sales”…because thats who pays me. Do you really thing that guy cares about alcohol sales. He only care about apeasing the people who voted him into office.

findog

February 8th, 2011
12:39 pm

Georgia Baptist Convention, Georgia Conservatives in Action, and the Georgia Christian Coalition [and the liquor stores]

Tom

February 8th, 2011
1:03 pm

Sen. Judson Hill’s last tweet BEFORE that one was spouting off about the unconstitutionality of Obamacare.

Then, he tweets about his support for the continuation of an unconstitutional “blue law”?

Sure would love to hear his reconciliation of this contradiction.

Cutty

February 8th, 2011
1:04 pm

The First Amendment speaks directly to the separation of Church and State. Why are these hypocrites who like to speak about state or local control from the feds, wanting to impede upon my rights to decide if I want to buy on Sunday?

Jimbo Murray

February 8th, 2011
1:12 pm

Wait until Michael Thurmond finds out that his new employer actually expects him to put in a full work week. He hasn’t done that in a long time. He won’t last very long in this new job. I predict he will be back on a government payroll somewhere in a few months.

yuzeyurbrain

February 8th, 2011
1:21 pm

It makes sense to me that the legislature will focus on passing bills relating to moral opinions since the state is broke and they have no money to play with. Actually, we are all probably better off the more these yahoos are distracted from slashing and burning their way through our public education system.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 8th, 2011
1:21 pm

“How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm once they’ve seen Karl Hungus”.

Well, you let them save a little face. The baptists lost this issue, but they are necessary for other items..like my lifelong goal of erradicating the democratic party like polio. So I am not going to rub their face in it over sunday alcohol sales. I think long term..

Oh Brother

February 8th, 2011
1:35 pm

The First Amendment speaks directly to the separation of Church and State.

Another idiot who hasn’t bothered to read the Constitution.

Jason

February 8th, 2011
1:50 pm

Georgia is one of the very few states that never ratified the twenty-first amendment. Of course enough other states passed it so prohibition is no longer a federal law but the twenty-first amendment does expressly give the states the power to be as stupid as they want when it comes to alcohol. Glad we may be finally giving up a bit of that power the state has over the people.

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2011
1:59 pm

I seriously want to have a face-to-face with some of these Talibaptists in regards to the issue of Sunday alcohol sales. I want to tell them to cease and desist with trying to force their religious beliefs on other people. I also want to tell them to join the rest of us in the 21st century and stop living in the past. A lot of people, especially those in metro Atlanta, are in favor of Sunday sales and they want to vote to change it. These people seem to be terrified of progress.

I just read the letter from the director of the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns. This guy is seriously grasping at straws. Does he really think that binge drinking is going to exponentially increase if Sunday sales are legalized? I also found it very funny that he talked about drunk driving in the letter. Does he not realize that with the way things are now, there’s likely to be more drinking and driving due to people drinking at restaurants and bars and then getting behind the wheel?

Lastly, I wish the Senate would go ahead and make this bill the first item of business that they address. Anything that pisses off the extreme religious right is fine by me.

jconservative

February 8th, 2011
2:06 pm

It is none of the business of government if I buy liquor or when I buy liquor.

It is high time we stop insulting the word “Conservative” by having it adopted by big government liberals like the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns.

Let the people in their own community decide.

GaBlue

February 8th, 2011
2:19 pm

“…..my lifelong goal of erradicating the democratic party like polio.”

Bless your heart. You really believe that some sort of utopia awaits you on the other end of that goal, don’t you sweetie? Oh my…. Well, little Dish who uses my Alma Mater’s battle cry in vain, that has pretty much happened here in Georgia. Where’s the utopia? Where are the jobs? Where is the trail of tears as those you deem undesirable are marched through the cold, single file, beneath whips and lashes, to occupy some territory out West you care nothing about?

Bless your heart.

SpaceyG on Twitter

February 8th, 2011
2:21 pm

*We received no notice of the hearing.* That one got a chortle out of me. Welcome to the new Georgia Legislature! My how the tables have turned. Yet remain the same. Sneaky and squirrelly under the Gold Dome is still popular, whenever and however. Could the Super Christians be slipping in their ability to keep-up with the *other* Republicans?! My my.

(I’m assuming the NEW Georgia Legislature has seen the zillions of Tweets, alone, in favor of Sunday sales legislation, for example. That’s probably assuming way too much with that crowd, but they’re out there. Trust me on that.)

Old Hippie

February 8th, 2011
2:25 pm

“Let the people in their own community decide.”

And if the folks in my county don’t go along, it will only take 15 – 20 minutes to drive to Atlanta. And Fulton County can get my tax money.

Lum

February 8th, 2011
2:26 pm

It’s hard to believe we’re still arguing about this in 2011. Makes a feller want a drink.

Mike

February 8th, 2011
2:26 pm

In the last year or so, it came out that one of the driving forces behind the prohibition of Sunday alcohol sales was the the trade group for the liquor store owners. They don’t want to have to open another day when everyone can buy everything they need in six days. So regardless of what people believe, it is not all about the religious aspect of the issue. Why aren’t we heargin about them now?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 8th, 2011
2:44 pm

@GABlue

“Where is the trail of tears as those you deem undesirable are marched through the cold, single file, beneath whips and lashes, to occupy some territory out West you care nothing about?”

It’s coming..see my earlier posts on rounding up the illegal aliens..mexico IS out west, is it not?

No, I am never a utopian thinker..life will always be a struggle to keep the collectivists out of my purse. Eradication of the democratic party would go a long way to ridding myself of the federal dystopia we have now, however.

Road Scholar

February 8th, 2011
2:56 pm

I don’t see language in the proposed Sunday drinking bill that REQUIRES the religeous right to buy alcohol on Sunday. You know- you don’t have to! But let the rest of the people who don’t share your views or religion buy it on Sunday!

On the other hand how would you feel if a bill was passed by a minority to close churches on Sunday? or, perhaps , to tax churches since they meddle in the affairs of the state?

Judge Not

February 8th, 2011
2:56 pm

give them freedom of religion and what do they give you in return? no freedom from their religion.
we should outlaw church on Sunday and any congregation that violates the law should have their cushy little tax status taken away. then their business would have to play on a fair and level field along with everyone else. you know, kinda like Jesus would’ve wanted it. he would be for fair and equal treatment of others. or least let a plumber’s company have the same tax advantages of a church if he names his company the ‘Holier than thou Plumbing Company’.

GaBlue

February 8th, 2011
3:03 pm

@TrishaDishaWarEagle,

I appreciate your passion, but I don’t think you’re accurately identifying the real source of YOUR problems. Simply getting rid of everyone you say we should get rid of — including those of your neighbors in Georgia who believe in a two-party system and perhaps have a different opinion about public policy — is not going to solve all the problems you seem to think it would. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Gov. Deal will prove that for you in the next few years.

Georgia is already a one-party state, except that the Democrats are still free to have meetings and run candidates. Is it your suggestion that they no longer be allowed to do so? Or do you just need to scapegoat somebody for the failure of YOUR chosen officials to solve YOUR problems?

Carrie Nayshun

February 8th, 2011
3:04 pm

For all the drunkards who continue to bleat that JESUS DRANK WINE!!! — show me where Jesus said to get staggering, stinking falling down drunk. Tell me where Jesus said it was okay to get all DUI and murder innocent people. Try reading Proverbs 23: 31-32. Then: To the taverns, ye sons of drunkards!

freidenker

February 8th, 2011
3:14 pm

wish the little fat king rube had taken his minions with him when he left. i have become truly convinced that most representatives in this state are such because they cannot get any other employment. they have no skills, can’t think for themselves. government jobs and religion suit them well. it is absolutely disheartening.

Tom

February 8th, 2011
3:25 pm

Yes, Carrie, much better that the people who want to get “staggering, stinking falling down drunk” on Sundays will continue to be forced to DRIVE to bars/restaurants to do it…and then *gasp* DRIVE home afterwards….than buy their alcohol at a store and drive home where they can get “staggering, stinking falling down drunk” in safety and sleep it off.

Dumba$$.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 8th, 2011
3:42 pm

@Gablue

Elected officials CAUSE my problems, never fix them. I simply want them to stay out of my life 100%.

I want to live in GALT’S GULCH.

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2011
3:45 pm

Here’s another thing: I just went and re-read the letter and I found this part amusing: “With all the problems facing the state of Georgia, we are flabbergasted at the dizzying speed with which Sunday alcohol sales legislation is moving through the State Senate.” Now, I’ll bet my last dollar that if legislation to restrict and/or outlaw abortion was moving at dizzying speed through the State Senate, they wouldn’t have any problems at all.

cary

February 8th, 2011
3:46 pm

I wish the Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns and the Christian Coalition would stay out of everybody else’s business. If it were up to them, we would have a Christian Taliban in this state.

cary

February 8th, 2011
3:47 pm

And I say that as a Christian myself.

Bob

February 8th, 2011
3:47 pm

OK let’s sale booze on Sunday but triple the taxes and drop income taxes. We can all get up get drunk and go to church. Ok booze is a religion anyway right?

Bill Norris

February 8th, 2011
3:52 pm

why does everyone think the bill will allow Sunday sales of Alchohol? Fromwhat I read the bill simply allows LOCAL REFERENDUMS to allow or not allow Sunday sales. We sould thank the legislators for actually returning”power to the people” by letting US decide. Either I am missing the boat or a lot of others are.

mdee

February 8th, 2011
3:53 pm

think we got problems now? people can’t make the distinction between bad behavior and the continued deterioration of society. so let’s do it (sell liquor on Sunday) to make a another buck. this will solve our problems, correct? then we can buy our way out of the next natural disaster or catastrophe, the housing market will by rebound, jobs will be created from the income from the Sunday liquor sales and we’ll wake up one day and all will be well…

Egorforrealchange

February 8th, 2011
3:57 pm

This is the final straw for me on Judson Hill. If he spent half the time he spends on his hair actually researching proposed legislation(rather than listening to lobbyists) and actually knew his district the whole state would be better off. Bottom line this guy is a goner and ill be glad to help assure that it happens. What a joke. You stand by many of the people of your district? Why not stand with them when the local vote comes for Sunday sales and let them decide?

downsouth

February 8th, 2011
3:58 pm

strike down the blues laws, we’re well into the 21st Century, even here in Jawja, right?

I could buy crack on Sunday if I wanted. and a gun. Maybe be I’ll smoke some crack, buy a gun, and make the grocery store sell me some beer??? (sorry, I have totally butchered my buddy’s joke about this.., but you get the drift :)

GaBlue

February 8th, 2011
3:58 pm

TDWE,

“Galt’s Gulch?” Hahahaha! I got ya… Hahaha! Thanks for breaking it down. Somalia is ready when you are! I hope you have LOTS of children, because only a few of them are likely to survive there, what with their free market filthy water and no law enforcement whatsoever. The good news is, you can probably sell a couple of your daughters for a nice profit… if you can keep them alive until puberty that is. Good luck with that, and don’t forget to blog here once in awhile to let us know how you’re doing! (You know, when you can get your wi-fi to work, before your laptop gets taken from you by big men with guns.) They’re gonna LUUUUUV yooouuuuuuuuu! God bless, and War Eagle!

DJ Sniper

February 8th, 2011
4:17 pm

Bill, we are all aware that this legislation will allow local referendums to vote on Sunday sales. We’re just glad that this issue is making more progress than it ever did under Sonny Perdue.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

February 8th, 2011
6:33 pm

GABLUE,

Individualism WORKS..provided one is willing to kill to keep what belongs to them, and has the means to do so. CHECK on both items.

Eva

February 8th, 2011
9:38 pm

ok, but none of this from Fox 5 on illegal immigration shows any prove, they just ask some random people walking around “hey you got papers?” – I mean, that’s investigative journalism these days? Some angry white dudes’ words pass for a reliable source? Come on.

Goob

February 8th, 2011
10:10 pm

OK if Sunday sales doesn’t pass and we lose one drinkin day per week I want some kinda concession. Like increase the beer alcohol content by 1/7th so we can get blitzed faster the other six days.

The Capn

February 9th, 2011
9:05 am

This boils down to Equal Protection issues. If the Olive Garden can sell booze on Sunday, then it is unconstitutional to tell the liquor store next door that they are prohibited from doing so. The current law created a “protected class” of individuals, and intentionally discriminates against another solely due to the packaging of the prohibited item. I am surprised that not one enterprising liquor or convenience store owner has not bit the bullet, and sold on Sunday just to get grounds for a constitutional challenge in court.
The problem with ‘local referendum” is that local politicians who are on the payroll of the local Baptist church or at least taking marching orders from them, will effectively continue the ban indefinitely by coming up with delays timed to miss the referendum deadlines, all the while pretending to “study the issue.” They will pretend to be in favor of letting the people decide, but in reality, the referendum will either not come to a timely vote, or be worded in such a manner to confuse the average voter.
What most of you should have noticed is that local control is a joke, because the bill as submitted still lets the state control the time of sales. The time set still seems to favor a religion, because it won’t allow sales while most churches are in session. What needs to have happened, if the state truly wanted to allow local control, is to repeal the law in it’s entirety, then let local governments put a referendum to prohibit Sunday Sales. But, the point would be, that no Sunday sales means NO Sunday sales, not even by restaurants. And if it’s not about religion, as so many claim, then how about we rotate the one dry day to each day of the week? That will make sure that it is truly NOT about religion.

Dave

February 9th, 2011
2:35 pm

As far as I am concerned give us a choice to vote thumbs or or thumbs down on this issue or next election be prepared to go down in defeat. The only two other states that don’t allow beer sales on Sunday is Indiana and CT. I read where one grocery store said 25% of total grocery sales happen on Sunday why should we not be able to by our beer then also. A lot of people here in Atlanta basically spend one total work day just in our traffic jam of a city.

DJ Sniper

February 9th, 2011
4:04 pm

Did you read the comment from Ray Newman of the Georgia Baptist Convention? He said that Sunday sales “would be encroaching on the Lord’s day” and “it’s something that needs to stop at this point.” Somebody tell this guy that his beliefs are encroaching on the rest of us who want to vote on this issue. The religious right just doesn’t get it.