Alcohol bill heads to Alabama Senate

Published 1:39 pm Thursday, April 30, 2009

By an overwhelming margin, the Alabama House voted 54-19 to override Gov. Bob Riley’s veto of House Bill 175 on Thursday, shortly before lunchtime.

If the Alabama Senate joins the House in overriding the governor’s veto, the bill will allow municipalities with populations 7,000 and below to vote on whether they want alcohol sales in their communities.

Also, the bill will allow restaurants that currently sell alcohol on Sundays in Shelby County and elsewhere in the state through the use of a club license to continue to do so.

State Rep. Jimmy Martin, D-Clanton, the bill’s sponsor, was headed from the House floor to the State Senate chambers early Thursday afternoon to check on the status of the bill in the Senate.

The State Senate must also vote to override Riley’s veto before the bill can be enacted.

“I feel wonderful,” Martin said. “I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the governor was going to veto it because he has been doing it for the last seven years.”

Martin said he did some “talking and surveying” this morning and knew he had the votes to override the governor in the State House.

As for the Senate, Martin said he thinks it will take up the bill later today and will also vote to override.

“They (members of the state senate) said they would take it up some time today,” Martin said. “We all feel pretty good that if they take it up, they will vote to override.”

State Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, also thinks the Senate will join the House in overriding the governor on the bill.

“I think it was harder to override in the House than it will be in the Senate,” Ward said. “The whole lame duck thing has started, I think.”