Archive for the ‘Sunday alcohol’ Category

Vincent Fort and Democratic support for Sunday sales

This afternoon, Christian Coalition leader Jerry Luquire sent an e-mail to his supporters that contained this observation:

“We have had some encouragement late last week from some members of the Black Caucus following an eloquent speech three weeks ago by Senator Vincent Fort on why he opposed Sunday package sales.

“If we can keep our Republicans and have a super majority of the Black caucus and two other Democrats, we will keep Sunday safe from more alcohol consumption and its tragic consequences.”

It was worth a walk over to the Senate for a chat with Fort.

“I’ve have my concerns about Sunday alcohol for a number of reasons,” the Atlanta lawmaker said. He spoke of liquor store inundating some neighborhoods of his district. “An every-other-block phenomenon,” he said.

“I’m seriously ambivalent about Sunday alcohol sales,” the senator said. “African-American legislators — for some reason, there was an assumption that legislators would just be naturally for …

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The game behind today’s Sunday sales vote

By now you know that the dormant issue of Sunday package sales of alcohol has raised its head in the Senate. A key test vote will come up this afternoon, but it won’t be on the subject itself.

The best sports analogy here may be beach volleyball. Chess is another possible parallel, of course, but it’s a beautiful day, and outdoor thoughts get priority.

In volleyball, each side has three hits to get a ball across the net. By and large, the first two are set-up shots devoted to positioning the final spike.

SB 150 is an innocuous, Democratic bill sponsored by state Sen. Ron Ramsey of Decatur to permit municipalities to allow sales of alcoholic beverages on golf courses. But it opens up the same section of the Georgia Code as SB 10, the Sunday sales bill, and so can serve as a vehicle for a Sunday sales amendment.

Which will not happen today. Today’s vote is a display of strength only, we’re told. Sunday sales forces will have to show that they can fend off an attempt by …

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Sam Olens: A Sunday sales law would be constitutional

Attorney General Sam Olens has jumped into the Sunday sales debate, shooting down a budding argument by opponents who said the Legislature couldn’t delegate its authority over matters involving alcohol.

Read his ruling here. Writes Olens:

“While I take no policy position on the proposed legislation, it seems that legislation could legally be enacted by the General Assembly to provide for local governments to authorize certain sales on Sunday as an exception to the state’s general prohibition of such sales and that the local governments could act in accordance with that legislation so long as they did not enact ordinances that conflict with general law.”

My AJC colleague Christopher Quinn has details here.

Olens was responding to two requests for a ruling – one from state Rep. Roger Williams, R-Dalton, sponsor of a House bill to permit package sales of alcohol on Sunday, and another from state Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, who was undecided but curious about the …

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Grover Norquist: Sunday sales bill would ‘reduce threat of tax increases’

Grover Norquist, president of Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform, has already flexed his muscles in Georgia’s debate over tax reform.

Now he’s taken on Sunday sales.

In a letter sent to Georgia lawmakers, Norquist ties the issue of package sale of alcohol on Sunday to the issue of taxes. My AJC colleague Christopher Quinn has the details here.

Click here for the complete letter. The juicy part:

….[T]his legislation is currently being held up at the behest of a small handful of senators. I urge you [to] reject these opaque, behind-closed-doors efforts to prevent a transparent and public debate on this much needed legislation, which recently passed out of committees in both chambers with sweeping majorities.

The small handful of senators that seek to preserve the status quo by blocking an open debate on the matter of Sunday sales referenda are effectively supporting greater government regulation and unnecessary intervention in the private economy – which Georgia …

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A Republican’s question about Sunday sales and a liquor dealer

Last year, Liz Carter was the Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Decatur.

Since then, she’s landed a local radio gig and launched her own blog, Politico Portico. Carter’s blog topic for today is her disappointment specific members of the Senate GOP caucus when it comes to the sale of package alcohol on Sunday.

She writes this about state Sen. David Shafer, R-Duluth, a long-time opponent of Sunday sales:

This morning, February 24th, I spoke to Senator David Shafer on, and off, the record. Needless to say I was disappointed to hear that yes, four years ago his committee gave a “do pass” to the bill, but he no longer supports the bill because the errors he corrected four years ago are back. Here is his official statement:

“Senate Bill 10 is flawed in its current form. Local communities should determine the hours of alcohol sales, but the bill would mandate alcohol sales until 11:30 p.m. on Sundays. Many communities end alcohol sales earlier than 11:30 …

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Your morning jolt: Complaint alleging Casey Cagle affair headed for dismissal

The state ethics commission appears ready to dismiss the complaint lodged last October against Casey Cagle that accused the Republican lieutenant governor of having an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer and overpaying her with campaign funds.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Bob Andres, bandres@ajc.com

Case No. 20010-0066 – a Cagle spokesman confirmed this is the one — is listed on the “dismissal” portion of the March 1 agenda for the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.

The complaint was filed by Ray Boyd, the real estate entrepreneur who last spring considered a Republican run for governor – but would not sign the loyalty oath required by the state GOP.

Boyd’s complaint offered no proof of the affair, which allegedly occurred around the time Cagle, then a state senator, was elected lieutenant governor in 2006.

Cagle called the allegation “absolutely false,” and declared the complaint to be the work of his Democratic opponent, …

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Senate Democrats on the Sunday sales bill: ‘Rules? What rules?’

Notice to state Senators: You do not have to cite the Political Insider in order to be quoted. That said, it doesn’t hurt.

Sen. Doug Stoner of Smyrna and two other Democrats, Steve Thompson of Powder Springs and Steve Henson of Tucker, laid out their concerns over Senate Republican handling of SB 10, the Sunday sales bill – and their worries that it could bode ill for the way the chamber conducts future business.

Below is a transcript of Stoner’s remarks:

My fellow senators, I come to the well today to register my disappointment.

Disappointment in the failure of this legislative body, the Georgia Senate, to live up to its proud past and traditions as an institution of open debate.

An institution of open debate governed by rules agreed to by all those who are elected and serve in this chamber. A set of rules agreed too that allows all members of this body to represent their districts, their communities, and their constituents.

State Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna. Ben Gray, bgray@ajc.com

State Sen. Doug Stoner, D-Smyrna. Ben Gray, …

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Sunday sales supporters gear up for Wednesday rally

The stakes can’t be compared with those, say, in north Africa, but supporters of Sunday package sales of alcohol are attempting to foment their own Facebook revolution.

They’re attempting fill the front steps of the state Capitol at noon Wednesday, to voice their disappointment in a decision by Senate Republicans to deep-six SB 10 on a private vote of their caucus.

The effort is being coordinated on the Georgians for Sunday Sales fan page on Facebook.

Jamie Dempsey, one of the organizers, said no groups – i.e., grocery retailers or business groups – are behind the rally. But Dempsey does bring some expertise to the issue.

He is the owner of a small Gwinnett County public relations firm and president of the Greater Eastside Chamber of Commerce. Dempsey organized turnout for last summer’s passage of the Snellville referendum that allowed restaurants in that city to serve alcohol on Sunday.

“The issue in and of itself is not alcohol. The issue is more who is calling …

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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, …

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Senate Republicans to settle fate of Sunday sales bill in private caucus

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).

Listen to the audio here.

“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 …

Continue reading Senate Republicans to settle fate of Sunday sales bill in private caucus »