Cobb leaders support alcohol sales legislation
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
February 04, 2011 12:00 AM | 8699 views | 30 30 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - Most Cobb lawmakers, all six mayors of cities in Cobb and the county chairman say they support legislation that would let communities in Georgia decide by referendum whether to permit Sunday alcohol sales.

Georgia is one of three states that bans beer, wine and spirits at package stores and other off-premise locations on Sundays, according to Benton Jenkins of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Connecticut and Indiana are the other two.

State Sen. Doug Stoner (D-Smyrna), a supporter of the Senate version of the legislation, SB 10, said it allows local cities and counties by voter referendum to approve Sunday sales for beer, wine or liquor.

State Rep. Don Parsons (R-east Cobb) is a co-sponsor of the House's version, HB 69.

Parsons said the legislation would allow the Sunday sale of alcohol from 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., if approved by voters in their communities.

State Rep. Judy Manning (R-Marietta) said it's discriminatory to allow restaurants and clubs to serve alcohol on Sunday, as they do now, but not grocery and convenience stores.

"I don't think it's fair that they ought to be penalized when other people are selling the same thing," Manning said.

State Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb) also supports Sunday sales.

"I think it's ludicrous that you can go to a bar or restaurant and drink on Sunday, and that person cannot buy something and drink in the privacy of their own home," Cooper said. "I would much rather have someone have a drink in their own home and be off the highway than someone have to go to a bar or restaurant and drink and be tipsy or intoxicated when they're out on the highway."

Other lawmakers in favor of the legislation allowing local communities to decide on Sunday sales are state Reps. Rich Golick (R-Smyrna), Sheila Jones (D-South Cobb), Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), David Wilkerson (D-Mableton), Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna), and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock).

"I support the voters making this decision," Rogers said. "Free adults should be able to choose at the ballot box for themselves."

State Reps. Matt Dollar (R-east Cobb) and Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) said they remain undecided, as does state Sen. Lindsey Tippins (R-west Cobb), who said he wants to see what the bill looks like after it comes out of the Senate Rules Committee.

State Rep. Bobby Franklin (R-east Cobb) answered the question this way: "The last time I read the 4th Commandment, it did not say, 'Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy, except by majority vote in a local referendum.'"

State Rep. Terry Johnson (D-Marietta) said he opposes the legislation, saying he has not had any constituents contact him about Sunday sales.

"My constituents sent me down to work on jobs, education and transportation," Johnson said. "Right now, they are concerned about buying groceries and paying the gas bill."

State Sens. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb) and Steve Thompson (D-Marietta), and state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) did not respond to the Journal by press time.

Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee supports the legislation.

"I think the Cobb Commission would approve putting it on a ballot for the citizens to vote on," Lee said.

Lee moreover believes the citizens would approve Sunday sales in Cobb.

"I think they would. I may be wrong, but that's what the voting box is for," Lee said.

All six of Cobb's mayors say they support legislation that would allow their cities to vote on Sunday sales, although they're not sure how their cities would vote.

"If they want to put it on the ballot, that's fine with me," Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon said. "I'd feel real uncomfortable buying beer or whiskey on Sunday myself - and I drink. I don't want to be a hypocrite. But I'd hate to be seen leaving church in my Sunday clothes and go get a fifth of liquor. I just wouldn't do that."

Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews said it was backwards to allow people to visit their local sports bar and drink all Sunday before driving home, but not allow them to buy spirits from a grocery store.

Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins, who owned a liquor store 21 years ago, said while he supports allowing voters to decide, he personally would not vote for Sunday sales. Powder Springs Mayor Pat Vaughn holds the same position as Jerkins.

"I think six days is enough. If they want, they can get it the night before," Jerkins said.
Comments
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Less Liquor
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February 13, 2011
There is no good from drinking liquor. The government in georgia should ban all liquor consumption of any type on Saturday and Sunday, including bars and restaurants and even houses. People drink too much as it is and drinking violates the good book and should be banned, ASAP!
PersonalFreedoms
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February 09, 2011
I'm Jewish. Why does Jesus get to tell me when I can and can't consume alcohol? I'm pretty sure Jesus drank on Sunday. In fact, Jesus drank every day since wine equated to water during his time. I also love the hypocrisy of conservatives. They don't want the government interfering in their lives, but they're ok with the government controlling the actions of others which they deem unseemly. I'm positive Jesus wasn't nearly as judgmental or hung up on trying to instill so called "morality" in other people. If you don't want to drink on Sunday, then don't. But, you have NO RIGHT to tell me that I can't.
No Sunday Liquor!
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February 07, 2011
The government should ban all alcohol consumption on the Sabbath, even in restaurants and private homes. Drinking on sunday violates the bible and should not be permitted in any form. The legislators must vote no!
Church & state
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February 05, 2011
I can't believe the hypocrisy of the bible thumpers. They are the same people that scream from the rooftop about separation of church and state.The rights of citizens should not be governed by archaic religious views, but by the constitution. There is no place that a particular religion should dictate my or anyone else's rights as a citizen of the country or state. Georgia is not a "church" state, it is state of the people. I don't feel compelled to have morality legislated for me,I can decide for myself what is morally acceptable. The fear mongers screaming about all of the bad things that will happen are usually the most corrupt people behind closed doors.I guess they don't want their secret to get out about how bad they are the other six days a week.
To MojoDan
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February 05, 2011
You need a six pack to relax? After church? I bet you will never give us your real name. Yeah, I guess its your right. But, I wouldn't brag about it. In fact, I think I would keep it a secret. I hope you dont drive anywhere after that. Oh, I bet your one of those idiots who says he drives better after having had a drink or two.
Keep religion
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February 05, 2011
This entire argument about not allowing off premises alcohol sales on Sunday is ridiculous for two reasons:

1) It assumes that one religion's beliefs should be the law of the state. I may not believe in your religion, and I shouldn't have to be held hostage to your beliefs. Ever heard of the 1st Amendment? When Alabama and South Carolina are OK with Sunday sales, I think GA is really on the bible thumping lagging edge.

2) Sunday sales on premises are already legal in most places in Georgia. What the hell is the difference if I go to a bar and get a beer on Sunday and watch a football game, or if I buy a six pack at Kroger and take it home to watch a game? Please explain to me that difference?
To WaMac
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February 05, 2011
In short, no, drinkers do not respect non-drinkers when they have had a few. They dont even respect themselves. They are like smokers who stink up the world. I've seen people who I thought had class reveal that they are just plain drunks. Alcohol controls people, its not the other way around.
Obamalama
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February 05, 2011
So, all the alcoholics who did not store up enough will be able to run to the store and buy more on Sunday. What a relief. No more having to wait just a few hours. Since I dont drink, never have, and have never felt the anguish some feel with being sober and smart, I guess I just dont get it. But, I hope alcohol related deaths, domestic disputes, family violence, and other atrocities dont increase. By the way, go check the police stats and you may wonder why Sunday is a slow day. But, maybe not anymore.
Know the Truth
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February 05, 2011
If you really have to be able to buy alcohol 7 days a week, you may want to think about what that says about you. NOTHING good comes out of it. Would you care if you couldn't buy soda everyday of the week? How about ice cream? No, alcohol becomes a need, an escape. Drunks are ugly people who do very bad and stupid things. To ACpontango, what a great dad, how often do you have to make liquor runs?
That Guy
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February 04, 2011
6 days a week is not enough now they want one more day to buy a product that causes nothing but pain to many. How many drunks will now leave the bars late Sat and go out and buy it on Sunday morning and most likely do so harm. I have a drink every now and then so I am not one of those who just drinks tea so I figure I can have my say on the issue. Most liquor stores would just soon stay closed on Sunday and get a day off. It would cost them more to stay open but would have to just to keep up with the grocery stores who are open anyway. Nothing wrong with NO sales on Sunday just those who can not do without one day who have to have their fix of their drug of choice . Wise up people drink less enjoy your life you do not need the extra day to get your fix.
WaMac
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February 04, 2011
Why don't they put it back the way it should be. I should at least be able to take my family to a restaurant one day a week without having to smell alcohol or listen to the people trash talk after a few. Can't the drinkers have a little respect for others at least one day a week?
Dave123588
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February 04, 2011
MADD currently ranks Georgia #6 in the nation for reducing drunk drivers. All of the states around us rank lower. South Carolina is near the bottom, and they also allow Sunday sales. If someone is going to get drunk and get in a car, then it will be more difficult if that happens at a bar and not your own house. Bartenders can cut people off, you know. So, allowing Sunday sales is a bad thing... All these politicians that want Sunday sales to be a local decision are only doing a disservice. How will the roads be any safer if people from nearby areas with Sunday sales drive drunk into your jurisdiction? Idiocy.
ACpontango
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February 04, 2011
Like many of us, my wife and I work. with kids, and life in general, we normally have to do grocery shopping on the weekends. I hate that if we can't make it on Saturday, I have to make a separate trip to a beer store during the week to get some beer or wine. I've lived in other places, and I can tell you that just because you don't have blue-laws, everyone is not going to show up drunk at church! this is a really antiquated law, let's finally get it off the books.
MojoDan
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February 04, 2011
I 100% support Sunday Alcohol sales. If you can go a few minutes from your house and get a drink, why can't you buy it in the grocery store? It's absurd!

The county I live in (Cherokee) won't pass any vote that comes our way so it's not as if I'll really gain anything by this...At least probably not for another 10 years.

We aren't in the prohibition days. Times have changed. I think it's my given right and any retailers right to sell alcohol on Sunday. Yes, it's the Sabbath. I get it. I do go to church. But after I've personally taken care of what I feel are my responsibilities on the Sunday should I choose to purchase a 6 pack and relax that's my problem. Not yours!

I'm not judging you, so don't judge me. Lets put this to a vote and let the counties decide one by one.
Demosthenes
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February 04, 2011
Mr. Franklin, I would ask first for you to define the fourth commandment as you interpret it...my guess is your interpretation is dramatically different than mine. Please don't assume you know what's best for me.
120gd
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February 04, 2011
This shows the true color of Nathan Deal pushing Alcohol sales.

He is just a warmed over Democratic.
MDJ Facts
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February 04, 2011
3 States??? Try 14. States continue to cling to Prohibition-era Blue Laws banning Sunday liquor sales. They include: Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. Notably, Connecticut, Georgia and Indiana are the only three states in the country that ban beer, wine and liquor on Sundays.

David Staples
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February 04, 2011
Rep Johnson - you want to work on jobs? Fine... how about this... liquor and package stores being open one extra day will either create more jobs or give current employees of those stores more hours.

To those saying sales of alcohol won't increase at all - it will... but only marginally. To many of us "heathens", alcohol is just another grocery. I walk down the aisles of the grocery store on a Sunday afternoon and if something catches my eye, it goes in the cart. I don't typically make special trips to the store the rest of the week specifically for alcohol unless there's a special occasion.
cobbobserver
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February 04, 2011
This shows just how antiquated some of Georgia's laws are. I remember the realization when I was younger and visiting out of state that people in other states could buy alcohol on Sundays if they wanted to. I am a Christian but I don't see how having a drink makes Sunday (by the way, NOT the Sabbath) any less holy. I don't suppose most people would stop at the liquor store on the way home from church as Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon believes but I think if you're at the grocery store on Sunday and pick up a bottle of wine, etc. that doesn't mean you're a bad person. Please let's vote on this so we can finally be recognized as a state operating in the 21st century.
Adman01
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February 04, 2011
If Rep. Terry Johnson really believes that he was elected to only "work on jobs, education and transportation" he is an ignorant fool. If his statement is not sincere--then he is an arrogant fool. Ignorant or arrogant? Nonetheless, a fool.
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