Archive for the ‘Sunday alcohol’ Category

Sen. John Bulloch, sponsor of Sunday sales bill, resigns

Updated at 3:30 p.m.: Just when Georgia Republicans were on a track to obtain a super-majority in the Senate when the Legislature gathers in January, the possibility that it could slip away has just reared its head.

State Sen. John Bulloch, R-Ochlocknee, has resigned, we’re told. We have not been told why, but Charlie Harper over at PeachPundit.com reminds me that Bulloch was hospitalized for meningitis in October.

Bulloch will be remembered as the major, persistent force behind one of the greatest cultural shifts of the last several decades. The rural legislator was the chief sponsor of legislation to permit communities to decide whether or not to permit beer, wine and liquor on Sunday. The law largely went into effect this year.

Bulloch is also one of the most popular members of the chamber, and was often a working partner with the shrinking Democratic caucus on issues such as immigration. But Bulloch also lives in south central Georgia, an area that offers some …

Continue reading Sen. John Bulloch, sponsor of Sunday sales bill, resigns »

A changed heart becomes a changed vote — 24 times

Last November, Michael Caldwell voted on the winning side of the referendum in Woodstock to permit the Sunday sale of six-packs and other alcoholic beverages.

Caldwell celebrated as so many people do these days: He went to his Facebook page.

Only a year earlier, when his 20 years wouldn’t have been enough to buy a drink, Caldwell had attempted to oust state Rep. Charlice Byrd, R-Woodstock, in the GOP primary. She beat him by 5 percentage points.

Perhaps the defeat still stung. For Caldwell posted a photo of the giant electronic voting board in the House chamber, indicating how lawmakers had voted on Senate Bill 10, the bill to permit local communities to decide for themselves whether to permit packaged alcohol to be sold on the Christian Sabbath. The April 12, 2011, vote was 127-44 in favor. Byrd had cast a “no” vote.

Byrd was just as sensitive. The same day, she posted her own message on Facebook, declaring that her former opponent was mistaken about her position on …

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How a strong Sunday sales vote could encourage gaming proponents

About that small rumble you heard on Wednesday. Possibly it was the earthquake that had its epicenter up in Dalton.

But allow yourself only a dash of imagination, and it could just as easily been the thunder of horses’ hooves cutting a circle of turf for a grandstand of bettors.

The overwhelming success of 127 measures in 127 communities to permit the Sunday retail sale of alcohol on Tuesday was the punctuation mark on a major cultural – and political – shift in Georgia. People already wonder what might come next.

According to a list compiled by the Georgia Food Industry Association, 105 of the referendums passed – an 82 percent success rate. Two-thirds of more than 266,000 Georgians who cast ballots approved of the concept of a Sunday purchase of a six-pack from a grocery store.

Houston County is home to a teetotaling Sonny Perdue, who blocked Sunday sales legislation during his two terms. On Tuesday, his neighbors in the cities of Perry and Warner Robins contradicted …

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Sunday sales votes had 82 percent success rate in Ga.

In 127 cities and counties across Georgia, referendums to permit the Sunday retail sale of alcohol had an 82 percent success rate, according to a list compiled by the Georgia Food Industry Association, one of the efforts’ chief backers.

Be the first on your block to see the list here. Twenty-one counties and cities voted down the measure. Of those, 13 were south of I-20. Albany, Americus, Brunswick, Swainsboro, Sumter County, and Waycross were the largest entities to defeat the measure.

North of I-20, Elbert and Whitfield counties said no.

But the number of yes votes was breath-taking. Two-thirds of more than 266,000 Georgians who cast ballots on the issue Tuesday voted yes. Even the city of Perry, home to Sonny Perdue – who as governor blocked the legislation through his two terms – passed the measure with a 55 percent majority.

Decatur had the highest margin of passage, by 91 percent.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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97 Georgia counties, cities set to vote on Sunday sales

The Georgia Food Industry Association announced today that 97 cities and counties throughout Georgia are set to hold Nov. 8 referendums to permit the Sunday sales of alcohol in retail stores. GFIA President Kathy Kuzava said the territories willing to embrace blue-lawlessness include about 2.5 million Georgians – just over a quarter of the state’s population.

Here’s the group’s list:

— Acworth

— Albany

— Alpharetta

— Americus

— Atlanta

— Auburn

— Ball Ground

— Barrow County

— Berkeley Lake

— Bibb County

— Bloomingdale

— Braselton

— Bulloch County

— Byron

— Canton

— Cartersville

— Centerville

— Chamblee

— Chatham County

— Cherokee County

— Colbert

— College Park

— Comer

— Covington

— Dacula

— Dalton

— Dawsonville

— Decatur

— Duluth

— Dunwoody

— East Point

— Elbert County

— Elberton

— Fayetteville

— Flowery Branch

— Ft Oglethorpe

— Gainesville

— Garden City

— …

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Kasim Reed on Sunday sales bill: ‘I’ll sign it today’

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said this afternoon that he intends to sign the measure passed by City Council on Tuesday that would allow a November referendum on whether to permit the Sunday sale of alcohol in grocery and other retail outlets.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Said Reed:

“I’m going to sign it. What I’ve said all along regarding Sunday sales is that, though I am personally opposed to the measure, I’m going to respect the will of the Atlanta City Council.

“I have a great deal of respect for Council member Alex Wan. He is the author of this legislation that was passed overwhelmingly by council. I’m going to sign it today.”

The referendum will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, in conjunction with a vote to extend the penny sales tax by Atlanta Public Schools, and fill a vacant seat on the city school board.

As one of you below has already noted, if large crowds are drawn to the polls for the Sunday sales issue — that may not bode well for an …

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With Sunday sales and immigration, Georgia’s center of gravity shifts to suburbia

You may not have felt it, but the ground shifted in Georgia last week.

On a tectonic plate set in motion by 236 members of your Legislature, the state’s center of gravity slipped several miles north, out of Georgia’s rolling farmland and into the fringes of metro Atlanta.

State Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, accepts congratulations after final passage of his controversial immigration bill, HB 87. AP/David Goldman

State Rep. Matt Ramsey, R-Peachtree City, accepts congratulations after final passage of his controversial immigration bill, HB 87. AP/David Goldman

It took a pair of disparate bills to point out the new fault line that now divides suburban and rural Republicans.

During the three-month session of the General Assembly, nothing spoke of suburban Atlanta’s growing clout like passage of the bill to permit the Sunday sale of packaged alcohol.

After a five-year fight, Republicans shook off opposition from a weakened conservative Christian lobby and embraced the concept of a well-lit beer aisle in the grocery store that can be visited after church.

Final passage in the 180-member House on Tuesday produced 40 …

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Poll: Support for Sunday alcohol sales stronger among Republicans, independents

Public Policy Polling of North Carolina on Wednesday published some leftovers of its Georgia survey. See the crosstabs here.

Among the tidbits:

– Voters of all party stripes (56%) agree that alcohol sales should be legal on Sundays. But surprisingly, the measure is more popular with independents (60%) and even Republicans (57%) than with Democrats (53%).

– One reason is that African-American voters (53%) were less enthusiastic about Sunday sales than white voters (59%).

– Another surprise: Younger people aged 18 to 29 were less caught up in the idea (51% approved) than those 30 to 45 (61%) or those 46 to 65 (63%). Senior citizens were the only age group opposed to the measure.

The PPP poll also indicates we like our politicians best when they’re out of office. Former U.S. senator Sam Nunn measured out as the most popular figure in the state. Right behind him was another former senator – and governor — Zell Miller.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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Lobbyist spending behind the Sunday sales push

Shannon McCaffrey and the Associated Press this weekend have a look at the spending behind the push to allow the Sunday sales of packaged alcohol in Georgia:

The Georgia Food Industry Association — which represents grocery stores — has taken on eight outside lobbyists to supplement its two person in-house staff. Among the heavy-hitters they’ve brought in is Pete Robinson, the well-connected former leader of the state Senate who also served on Gov. Nathan Deal’s transition team. The Publix supermarket chain has hired GeorgiaLink and John “Trip” Martin, a longtime fixture in the state Capitol lobbying corps.

[Jim] Tudor and his convenience stores have spent $1,618 feeding House members in the chamber so far this session, according to lobbying disclosure reports filed with the state. Across the rotunda, the food industry group has shelled out $1,693 to keep food and beverages flowing in the Senate. Those numbers will grow before the 40-day session ends.

Yet Tudor said he …

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The moment the Sunday sales bill passed

An anonymous follower of the Political Insider blog has sent this video of lobbyists outside the Senate chamber, reacting to the Wednesday passage of SB 10, the bill to permit the packaged sale of alcohol on Sunday:

We’ve got a searchable database of the Senate vote here. By the way, a rumor around the state Capitol had the House taking SB 10 and sending it to Gov. Nathan Deal tonight. We checked. It won’t happen.

A hearing has been scheduled before the House Regulated Industries, chaired by Roger Williams, a backer of SB 10, for next Tuesday at 9 a.m.

Updated at 5:37 p.m.: Whoops. Now it seems that Tuesday wasn’t soon enough. The hearing has been moved to 10 a.m. Monday.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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