Give voters choice on Sunday sales

Gov. Sonny Perdue has joked that Georgia's blue laws banning alcohol sales on Sunday teach time management. The simple lesson, he said, is to plan ahead and buy on Saturday for Sunday consumption.

While Perdue is correct about the current laws teaching time management, his point is blunted by the fact that Georgians can purchase alcohol on Sunday, just not from their local convenience, grocery or liquor stores. That highlights the archaic nature of the current laws, as does the fact that Indiana and Connecticut are the only states other than Georgia to have the Sunday prohibition on take-home alcohol sales.

On Friday, a pair of new bills were introduced in the Legislature that address criticisms of a bill that would have let communities decide whether to legalize the take-home sale of beer and wine on Sundays.

The new proposals add liquor sales to the plan's option - addressing concerns of liquor and package stores - and give communities the choice of allowing Sunday sales only after noon, postponing the sale of alcohol until after the traditional time church services end.

Despite those changes, the bills still face an uphill climb in the Legislature, and ultimately from Perdue. Perdue, who says he does not drink alcohol, has expressed opposition to the bills.

However, passage of the bill would not automatically allow Sunday take-home sales, but allow local governments to decide for themselves. That seems like a fair proposition.

The original bill, introduced by Sen. Seth Harp, R-Midland, only allowed for beer and wine sales, which did not sit well with liquor groups, who would have been put at a competitive disadvantage.

The entire proposal does not sit well with religious groups like the Georgia Christian Alliance, but moving the start times until after church is a step in the right direction.

If nothing else, it is time to give local governments and Georgia voters the right to decide for themselves. In a state and county where you can drive to a restaurant or bar to drink on Sunday, it isn't ridiculous to consider allowing those same beverages to be purchased at grocery, convenience and liquor stores to be enjoyed at home. Have any thoughts about this editorial? Share them with us at letters@gwinnettdailypost.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.