Bill to grandfather Sunday sales passes House

Published 2:52 pm Friday, March 13, 2009

Legislation that would allow restaurants that serve alcohol on Sundays in Shelby and Houston counties to continue to do so, passed the Alabama House Thursday evening and is headed to the State Senate for consideration.

Contacted about the legislation on Friday afternoon, State Rep. Mike Hill of Columbiana, who represents Shelby County, said an amendment to grandfather in Shelby County restaurants that currently hold club licenses and sell liquor on Sunday was attached to another bill and passed in a House vote.

If the measure passes the Senate, “it will allow those who sell it now to continue, but no one new will be allowed to come in and sell alcohol on Sundays,” Hill said.

The amendment was attached to a bill that will allow municipalities with a population of more than 6,000 residents and located in a dry county to call for a referendum on alcohol sales without action from the legislature. Because Shelby County is already a wet county, that part of the bill doesn’t apply here, Hill said.

Hill said he doesn’t have a prediction as to the bill’s fate in the State Senate.

“I’m really not sure how it will do. I didn’t think it would pass the House,” he said.

The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board recently notified restaurants in Shelby and Houston counties that held dual licenses – a retail restaurant license, which allows for liquor sales Monday through Saturday, and a private club license, which allows for Sunday liquor sales – that they would have to choose one or the other before renewing their licenses this September.