Senate Republicans will have an hour-long, private caucus on Wednesday to determine if legislation to permit package sales of alcohol on Sunday has a future, according to a report just posted by Denis O’Hayer of WABE (90.1FM).
“If we don’t have a majority of our senators in favor of it, then we’re not going to bring it to the floor,” said Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, who supplied the second signature on SB 10. “If the caucus is for it, it’s going to come to the floor.”
One day earlier, Rogers had raised the possibility that the Sunday sales legislation had been stalled for the session by a last minute surge of opposition from conservative Christian groups.
Today, via O’Hayer, Rogers rated the future of his bill as “a coin toss. It has not hit a wall.”
Personally, Rogers said, “95 percent” of the communications he’s received on the bill have been in favor.
“The polling that’s been done in my district shows overwhelming support – in fact,more than just about any district in the state. But this is a broad, diverse state. So I suspect that in other districts, the e-mails and phone calls may be of a different nature,” Rogers said.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Butch Miller, R-Flowery Branch, whose committee gave wings to the legislation with quick passage earlier this month, has decided the fight is now well above his paygrade as a freshman.
“It’s a long way from being a law. It’s a long way,” Miller told O’Hayer. “It’s someone else’s responsibility to push the bill. I will not push it.”
The senator didn’t take issue with the decision by religious conservatives not to speak against the bill at his hearing.
“They need to be heard, and it’s sad to me that they weren’t heard earlier. It’s sad to me that they didn’t come to the hearing,” he said.
Business lobbyists have not backed down.
On Monday, we told you that the Georgia Chamber of Commerce had declined a request from a select group of Senate Republicans – including many members of the leadership – to back down its declaration that it would make Sunday sales a “scorecard” issue.
What we failed to tell you was that the Georgia chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses – in some ways a more politically connected group than the Chamber – on Monday sent its own letter to all state senators.
With the same message. See it here. From the letter:
The NFIB will make the vote on Senate Bill 10 a Key Vote issue for possible use on our State Voting Record. NFIB respectfully requests your YES Vote on Senate Bill 10 and a NO vote on any weakening amendments.
So the Georgia Chamber is no longer out there by itself.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider