Young Republicans and Democrats joined forces at the Capitol Tuesday to back legislation allowing local communities to approve Sunday alcohol sales at stores.
“Georgia is one of only three states in the country with a total ban on Sunday sales,” said Allan Williamson, finance director for the Georgia Federation of Young Republican Clubs. “It is time for us to move past any perceived partisan divide and change that.”
Zak Koffler, finance secretary for the Young Democrats of Georgia, told reporters, “Young Democrats and Young Republican agree that the current total ban on Sunday sales does not align with core beliefs of either party.
“Whether they are championing individual liberty, economic freedom or local control, our elected officials should let voters decide this issue for themselves.”
Williamson, 31, a project manager for a software company and Koffler, 24, a Georgia State finance student, came to the Capitol on the day before the Senate Regulated Industries Committee plans to hold a hearing on Sunday sales legislation.
The bill by Sen. Seth Harp (R-Midland) would allow local communities to vote on letting grocery, convenience and liquor stores sell beer, wine and liquor on Sundays.
Currently, Georgians can buy alcoholic beverages at restaurants and bars on Sundays in many communities. Grocery and convenience store lobbies have been pushing the legislation for three sessions.
It is opposed by religious right groups such as the Christian Coalition and by some liquor store owners who don’t want to stay open on Sundays.
Jim Beck of the Christian Coalition said his group opposes the bill for several reasons. Among them are the group’s long-standing opposition to alcohol sales on the Christian Sabbath.
Gov. Sonny Perdue, a Christian conservative who doesn’t drink, also has opposed Sunday sales.
Williamson noted that Young Republicans have passed resolutions supporting the legislation in the past. He said to his group, the issue is about local control of decisions on alcohol sales.
“One of the core principles of the Republican Party is local control,” he said. “We are hoping Mr. Perdue will listen to his constituents and sign this bill.”