A fresh argument against Sunday sales: ‘We don’t want to be like California’

Majority Whip Cecil Staton, R-Macon, said he hoped to finish by late today a count of Senate Republican for and against SB 10, the measure to permit the package sale of alcohol on Sundays.

The whip count was ordered by Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyons, and Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, Staton said.

But after the confidential count, there’s still no guarantee that the bill – stalled by a sudden surge of conservative Christian protest, and possibly some behind-the-scenes liquor interests – will emerge from the Senate Rules Committee and be sent to the floor.

“That will be the basis upon which there will be further discussion of what to do,” Staton said.

In one of several interviews conducted by my AJC colleague Christopher Quinn, Staton said he personally favors the bill. “If the vote was held today, I would probably vote for it. I’m a big believer in local control,” he said.

Rogers, the majority leader and second-signer on SB 10, simply said, “The opposition in my district is almost non-existent.”

But the hour-plus caucus meeting intended to hash out the issue appears to have generated a fresh argument against the Sunday sales bill – that the state has no business delegating its authority over alcohol sales to local governments.

Said state Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, who opposes the bill:

”Unfortunately, a lot of times we use allowing local control to punt a difficult issue down the road. ….When you read the [state] constitution, we are – at the state Legislature – supposed to have the task of regulating alcohol sales. We should make that decision, I believe, one way or the other, for the entire state.

“Using the cover of local control is taking a step toward being a referendum state. I don’t believe that that’s in the best interest of our state.”

Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, is a freshman Senator and former House member. He declared himself to be undecided, but appeared to be leaning toward Seabaugh’s argument.

“I do have an Anheuser-Busch plant in my district, so there is some interest there,” Loudermilk conceded.

On the other hand, the senator said, he didn’t want Georgia to end up like California.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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193 comments Add your comment

Liquor

February 16th, 2011
12:59 pm

The Coalition needs to get out the message that Georgia doesn’t need any more liquor—there is too much drinking as it is. People can buy all the liquor they want on other days, not Sunday, which is against the Bible!

Aquagirl

February 16th, 2011
1:02 pm

What a brilliant analogy by Loudermilk: Allowing a local vote on Sunday sales = your children will turn gay. Or something.

DJ Sniper

February 16th, 2011
1:03 pm

Liquor, please quote the bible verse that prohibits drinking on Sunday.

ugaprof

February 16th, 2011
1:09 pm

There are Christians who drink and Christians who don’t, but are there *any* who believe drinking is wrong on just one of the seven days of the week? I’m puzzled. As DJ Sniper said, please quote the Bible verse.

DJ Sniper

February 16th, 2011
1:13 pm

Has anybody tried to get any of these yahoos to try and explain the difference between buying alcohol from a restaurant on Sunday and buying it from a liquor store on Sunday? I’m still waiting for a logical response from the religious right on that one. Bottom line: alcohol is being sold on Sunday.

Also, somebody please slap some sense into the guy who believes that Georgia will end up like California if Sunday sales becomes a reality.

Jhunterbob

February 16th, 2011
1:15 pm

This reminds me of that great scene in “When Harry met Sally”. Sally is recounting the story about the days of the week underpants and the constant question of where is Sunday…

The answer, of course, was they didn’t make Sunday on account of God and everything :-)

Intown

February 16th, 2011
1:17 pm

Last time I checked, alcohol was integral to most stories in the bible. What the heck do you think WINE is?

Also, looks like some clever lobbyists got to the GA Senate Republicans and are filling their heads with nonsense statements like — we don’t want to be like California.

I hereby declare that all Pollack jokes be amended by deleting the word “Pollack” and replacing it with “Republican Georgia State Senator”.

Chief

February 16th, 2011
1:17 pm

Getting beyond the issue of whether we should be allowed to buy on Sunday – of course we should – what is more frightening is the process we are seeing. Apparently the will of the people is not of consequence in the state of Georgia. Only that of the phony religious types who feel the need to tell others how to live their lives, and those lobbying groups with their hands in the pockets of our elected officials. Georgia is a joke.

Freedom from Religion

February 16th, 2011
1:19 pm

It seems to me that the continual use of “Christians” gets in the way of a clear-headed decision on this issue. I would like to see someone provide actual data that all the people in the other 47 states that can purchase beer/wine/liquor on Sundays are spending all day on that day drinking. All the majority of the people in the state are asking for is the ability to purchase it any day of the week. You can’t tell me that people are going to be waiting to buy beer/wine on Sunday and then get totally smashed, just because they can make the purchase. Let me make the decision about this and the I will let the Legislature make the big decisions.

Jimbo Murray

February 16th, 2011
1:21 pm

The Georgia Christian Coalition reminds me of the Taliban. Although a minority, they vigorously seek to impose their values on the entire population.

Bruce

February 16th, 2011
1:22 pm

um, ok, first of all, I wish these Christians would mind their own damn business. If you don’t want alcohol on Sundays, THEN DON’T BUY IT! Why should we follow YOUR beliefs. Second, and as what most don’t understand, we should not base our laws on the bible. Separation of church and state, what this country is founded on.

Maco

February 16th, 2011
1:23 pm

I just wish this black pride month would be done away with already

What??????

February 16th, 2011
1:25 pm

Believe it or not, the people of Ga. did not elect politicians to make laws for us poor peons! If an issue can be decided by the electorate, then by all means why not?

GaBlue

February 16th, 2011
1:26 pm

We’re gonna get a longer coastline, more mountains, and three more major league baseball teams? COOL! Whoa whoa, hold up a minute. Will we still get non-stop SEC Football in the fall? If not, no deal!

DJ Sniper

February 16th, 2011
1:27 pm

LOL@ Intown’s joke!

Chief, you are so correct that this state is such a joke when it comes to certain things.

Freedom, I agree with you as well. Opponents of Sunday sales kill me by thinking that there’s going to be a huge increase in drinking and alcohol abuse if this thing passes. The people who will be buying alcohol from liquor stores on Sundays are the same people who are going to bars and restaurants to drink on Sundays. Allowing them to take it home will probably reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.

JP

February 16th, 2011
1:28 pm

I love the bogus arguments against referendums – “we don’t want to be like California.” If the reverse was going on and the Religious Right was pushing an issue – you darn welll can be sure these clowns at the capitol would allow it to go to a referendum, saying it was the “will of the people.” The sad part about it is that these guys in office don’t realize what a joke they are…..

Peachtree

February 16th, 2011
1:29 pm

Doesn’t anyone remember the Bible verse where Jesus turned water into Sweet Tea?

Joe Schmoe

February 16th, 2011
1:30 pm

This is the reason why I stopped being a Republican years ago. I am a conservative/libertarian, but they let their party get road blocked by a few knuckleheads that dont drink themselves… Good grief, as a tea partier, I say lets have sunday sales now! Freedom of destiny for all!

JustMe

February 16th, 2011
1:31 pm

On the other hand, the senator said, he didn’t want Georgia to end up like California.

WTH is that supposed to mean? That if we allow Sunday alcohol sales that we’ll all end up as loony heathens? Give me a break! You can already buy the stuff at restaurants on Sunday, if they allowed stores to sell it, then it may cut down on the number of drinking and driving incidents and we’re all not going to go stir crazy and start buying alcohol all the time.

Heck, I don’t even drink and consider myself to be a religious person and I don’t have a problem with it.

Besides, it irks me that the Republicans who always want to give more power back to the people are taking issue with giving this power back to the people just because its convenient for them. That is one huge problem I have always had with Republicans – they really can be quite the hypocrites sometimes.

They need to leave it up to the voters. I am

Maco

February 16th, 2011
1:34 pm

Well, these Christians are the same people who would vote for Sarah Palin if she ran for President. I mean, how open and smart can they really be?

David

February 16th, 2011
1:35 pm

Not all of us read the Bible, and the Bible should not in interfere with the legislative process.

With that being said; I don’t drink anything more than a glass of red wine at random (sometimes on Sundat too), but it certainly isn’t any of my business who purchases alcohol on Sunday, and the majority should rule, not just the hypocritical bible toting clan!

Bill

February 16th, 2011
1:37 pm

The blacks ruin everything for us.

Road Scholar

February 16th, 2011
1:39 pm

Turn us into Caliornia? You mean our student’s test scores will jump that high? Where’s Arnold when you need him?

Ghostrider

February 16th, 2011
1:40 pm

Road Scholar

February 16th, 2011
1:41 pm

Let’s ban ammo and gun sales on Sunday! How un-christian like is killing things?

DaveDawg

February 16th, 2011
1:41 pm

We don’t want to be like California? I’m sorry, what’s the relevance?

Is there a sinister California liquor law on the books, or is this just a convenient catch-phrase for ignorant politicians?

Ghostrider

February 16th, 2011
1:42 pm

Liqour — Shut the Hell up….Go preach your Bullsh!t somewhere else. Who are you to tell me what I can and cannot do on Sundays….Moron Holy Roller

D.M.

February 16th, 2011
1:44 pm

@ Liquor
I’d love to see the verses stating it is banned. So far, all that have been posted were stating not to get drunk.

I sure would love the opposition to use some actual thought processes; so far it’s been a repetitive listing of “My preacher says Gawd says it’s wrong, so it must be!” (accented spelling of God used for emphasis), a mix of “keep the day holy”, and “Holier than thou comment *insert number*”

Vince Lombardi

February 16th, 2011
1:47 pm

I think we need a ban on football metaphors in Georgia. Or, at the very least, we need to look into fines/prison for politicians who use the word “punting” incorrectly (Sen. Seabaugh). If the Georgia Assembly is empowered by the State Constitution to make a “decision” regarding Sunday liquor sales, why would it “punt” (change of posession) to local authorities/voters?

To Clarify

February 16th, 2011
1:47 pm

Since no one else here seems to get this. The “We don’t want to end up like California” was referring to Georgia becoming a “referendum state” a la California. California can barely conduct state business without a referendum. E.g. PROP 19. Forcing local referendums on this issue sets a precendent. Should we also have local referendums on legalizing pot or outlawing abortion?

Nice try, Senator.

February 16th, 2011
1:48 pm

The section of the Constitution Sen. Seabaugh references reads:

“Regulation of alcoholic beverages. The State of Georgia shall have full and complete authority to regulate alcoholic beverages and to regulate, restrict, or prohibit activities involving alcoholic beverages. This regulatory authority of the state shall include all such regulatory authority as is permitted to the states under the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This regulatory authority of the state is specifically delegated to the counties and municipalities of the state for the purpose of regulating, restricting, or prohibiting the exhibition of nudity, partial nudity, or depictions of nudity in connection with the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages; and such delegated regulatory authority may be exercised by the adoption and enforcement of regulatory ordinances by the counties and municipalities of this state. A general law exercising such regulatory authority shall control over conflicting provisions of any local ordinance but shall not preempt any local ordinance provisions not in direct conflict with general law.”

The amendment was added to the Constitution in 1994 in order to allow municipalities to regulate whether or not adult entertainment establishments would also be allowed to hold liquor licenses and is based on the authority implicitly granted to the states by the 21st amendment to the US Constitution to regulate alcohol within their respective borders.

Despite Mr. Seabaugh’s spurious attempt to find any outside authority that will somehow buttress his attempts to impose his own personal politics and the wishes of Georgia liquor store owners on the rest of the state, his argument falls apart on two grounds:

1) The authority on which the passage in the state constitution rests is granted by the 21st amendment to the US constitution and was granted to all 50 states. Forty-seven of those states have no prohibition against selling alcohol on Sunday. The legislature is not bound by any outside requirements and could possibly change the state constitution if so desired.
2) A change to the constitution isn’t even required. The passage in question specifically allows the state to delegate decisions on alcohol sales in connection with adult entertainment establishments to counties and municipalities, so how could one possibly conclude that the same amendment somehow prohibits the delegation of any other regulation of alcohol sales to local authorities?

This is another desperate attempt by one state senator who represents a vocal minority to prevent the voters of the state from expressing their rights by choosing on their own whether they prefer Sunday alcohol sales on Sundays in their own communities. Nothing more.

Get with the program

February 16th, 2011
1:49 pm

When will the Christian Coalition realize we have become a 24/7 society? Any business selling a legal substance should be able to operate whenever they want to and there is customer demand. I will support their position when they remove all religious programming from the airwaves except on Sunday.

David

February 16th, 2011
1:52 pm

“Bill; The blacks ruin everything for us.”

That is too funny!

Sunshine

February 16th, 2011
1:52 pm

Like CA — like a referendum state. That senator appears to want the state Legislature to make the decision. I’m okay either way (local control vs. state control), as long as they agree with me! (ha ha)

Away With The Religious Zealots

February 16th, 2011
1:52 pm

Seabaugh should go live in Iran and join the Taliban. We, the people should not decide issues? Gosh, I trust “we the people” long before I trust the idiots elected from the hinterlands. Sad, sad, sad day for Georgia. Just keep the women pregnant and barefooted, the kids uneducated, but we’ll all be fine if we can’t buy booze on Sunday.

JR1967

February 16th, 2011
1:54 pm

Say what you want to about California, but at least they never have to worry about the arm-twisting tactics of the Christian Coalition.

JustMe

February 16th, 2011
1:54 pm

Thanks to “To Clarify” for that clarification, but personally I don’t think it is such a bad idea and for a political party that supposedly wants to put more power back in the hands of the people, I am surprised they do to, but then again, its not convenient for them since their base does not agree with being able to buy alcohol on stores on Sundays (despite the fact that you have been able to buy it in restaurants for quite some time – although I think if they could change that so that you couldn’t I think they probably would). As I said before I’m a pretty religious person, but I don’t believe that anyone should impose their beliefs (religious or otherwise) on anyone else. I’m sure they wouldn’t want me or anyone else that didn’t agree with them on an issue doing that to them.

JR1967

February 16th, 2011
1:55 pm

I happen to also live here in Seabaugh’s district-I will remember this when time for re-election!

JustMe

February 16th, 2011
1:55 pm

Aquagirl

February 16th, 2011
1:57 pm

@ to Clarify—Apparently you take politicians at face value. Did you ever consider that *you’re* the one who doesn’t get it?

Bill

February 16th, 2011
1:57 pm

The damn blacks

Joe the Plutocrat

February 16th, 2011
1:58 pm

Get with…, the concept of 24/7 does not apply to many of the Christians I know, and most certainly not the Christian Coalition. Nice try, agreed. Seabaugh and the others are simply trying to buy some time before they determine the “highest bidder” to which they will sell their votes.

Jim Beam

February 16th, 2011
1:58 pm

Liquor — which Christians are you referring? Catholics drink on the front porch, Baptists drink on the back porch. BTW – Jesus didn’t turn water into grape juice — it was WINE! and he drank on the Sabbath! If you follow the bible you also must legislate against BBQ restaurants. So, why do you so-called ‘Christians’ mind your own business and stop trying to cram your antiquated doctrine down our throats.

You should be more concerned about the law that allows you to arm yourself with weapons in church. That’s all we need — a bible thumping preacher emotionally stirring up a crowd of cool-aid drinking, zealots who are packing heat.

jay

February 16th, 2011
1:59 pm

Its a charade. They will pretend to “count the vote” and let it die
in committee. Republicans want to shove their archaic values down
people’s throats.

Reggie

February 16th, 2011
1:59 pm

Georgia turning into California?? Really! Is that the argument?? And selling on Sunday is the reason, even though you can get a drink in a restaurant.Thinking you know what is best for your ignorant subjects is disgusting!!! We are one of 3 states that has no alcohol sales on Sunday. He should say I don’t want to be like those other 47 states. Hell even Bama is not this backwards. BASSAKWARDS!!!!

Buzzfan®

February 16th, 2011
2:00 pm

I think he means he doesn’t want us to start drinking at 10:00am on Sundays when the early NFL games kick-off on TV (like they do in California)

Last Man Standing

February 16th, 2011
2:01 pm

Did I miss something? I thought the reference to becoming like California was with regard to referendums and not particularly about Sunday sales of alcohol. Sunday sales of alcohol is an issue that surfaces in every legislative session, draws a lot of fire (both enemy and friendly) and takes up time best spent on other problems. This is one issue that should be resolved by referendum at the local level. If nothing else, it might finally silence the thirsting hordes who can’t or won’t plan ahead and lay in their booze a day ahead of time. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about it.

booklover

February 16th, 2011
2:02 pm

I don’t identify as a Christian since I started living in Georgia (I try not to align myself with ignorant morons), but wasn’t Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine?

At my family’s Lutheran church, parishoners are even given the choice between red and white wine for communion. Of course, we are a bunch of damn Yankees who even allow the ladies to be preachers, so what the hell do we know?

(The religious argument against Sunday sales violates the part of the first amendment which states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in both senses: it establishes a certain religion as the basis for lawmaking, and it violates the religious expression of those of us who would like to purchase and drink wine on Sundays in order to honor Jesus’ miracle.)

John K

February 16th, 2011
2:03 pm

Funny how many Christians claim their rights are being violated because others are working to prevent them from violated the rights of others.

But I’ll trade the Talibangelicals no alcohol on Sundays for no believing in God on Thursdays.

gabugman

February 16th, 2011
2:04 pm

Lost among all the stupidity of these arguments against Sunday sales is the simple fact that the state is losing potential revenue. GA needs all the $ it can make and this is an ez no-brainer.