Another year, another Sunday sales initiative dead in the Georgia Legislature.
Georgia is one of just three states (Connecticut and Indiana are the others) whose residents are denied by law the opportunity to go to a store on Sunday and buy a six-pack.
Sunday sales prohibition is a leftover from the heyday of so-called blue laws – state and local regulations meant to enforce public observance of the Christian Sabbath by restricting supposedly morally questionable commercial activities on Sundays.
What remains of Georgia's drink-themed blue laws has left the state with a conflicting hodgepodge. Restaurants can sell alcohol on Sunday. So can pubs that also serve grub. So can ballparks. Grocery and package stores, however, cannot. It's Sabbath a la carte!
Asked earlier this year if he would support then-pending legislation to allow municipalities to decide for themselves whether to allow Sunday store sales, Gov. Sonny Perdue produced questionable statistics saying Sunday store sales would lead to more car accidents. Earlier, Perdue suggested that Georgians who want alcohol on Sunday should plan their shopping trips better. Perhaps if Georgians get better at planning ahead people like Perdue won't ever be elected again.
Perdue's intransigence on Sunday sales seems doubly outrageous after the state Senate rejected the Sunday sales-in-stores bill, but approved Sunday sales for a not-yet-built minor league baseball stadium. The intermittent protector of the Sabbath signed that bill. The state also permitted Georgians to buy wine over the Internet and let limo companies sell booze to customers. Apparently this was justified by the little-known Bible verse Corinthians 5:11B, which states, "If a Christian brother is a drinker, that's cool, as long as he's at a ball game, rollin' in a stretch Hummer, or at Taco Mac."
Gold Dome watchers say political arithmetic is the reason Sunday store sales stalled while other booze bills passed. In an election year when the party's prospects are dim, Republicans don't want to annoy their conservative, Christian base by supporting a pro-drinking measure that likely won't win them any new friends.
Maybe next year.
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