Voters should decide Sunday alcohol sales

FROM STAFF REPORTS

Six years have passed since the last time state legislators considered Shelby County Sunday alcohol sales.

Now, legislators have another chance to let Shelby County voters decide if local restaurants and retailers can sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday.

State Rep. Mike Hill, R-Columbiana, sponsored the local amendment to the Alabama Constitution in the Alabama House of Representatives during this year’s legislative session. State reps. Matt Fridy, R-Montevallo, and April Weaver, R-Brierfield, co-sponsored the bill.

The bill has passed the House and is now being considered by the Senate. If passed, it would allow Shelby County voters to vote on the issue during the March 2016 presidential primary election.

Prior to 2009, local restaurants and retailers were able to serve alcohol on Sundays through private club licenses. Retail liquor licenses only allowed retailers to sell alcohol Monday-Saturday. In 2009, the state ABC board did away with private club licenses for restaurants, but grandfathered in businesses already holding the licenses at the request of state legislators.

The result puts new restaurants and retailers looking to locate in Shelby County at a disadvantage. It also makes Shelby County less attractive to new businesses and restaurants considering locating here.

“Now, when a restaurant wants to come to Shelby County, they are competing with Jefferson County and with their neighbors in Shelby County that were grandfathered in,” Hill said in an interview with the Shelby County Reporter.“(Sunday alcohol sales are) not something I particularly care about, but we’ve got to do it if we want to keep economic development going in Shelby County.”

The discussion around Sunday alcohol sales can be contentious in Alabama, but this a conversation that needs to be had in Shelby County. We at the Shelby County Reporter are glad our local representatives have sponsored this legislation in the hopes of allowing Shelby County voters to make the decision. We urge the State Senate to give our voters that chance by passing this legislation.