Diary

Georgia: Blue Laws. Local control or central authority?

This is the question that some in the Georgia legislature are attempting to put to a vote.  In private, the bill, SB 10, received wide support and it’s passage was considered a swift and certain outcome.

The bill, officially known as SB 10, does not in and of itself make alcohol sales from liquor, convenience and grocery stores legal on Sunday.  It legalizes a process that would allow local governments to determine if they wanted to put before their citizens a vote to determine if local community standards supported expanded alcohol sales.  Supporters have positioned the bill as a vote for local control.  Opponents have fought the bill as an abomination.

As the vote neared though, some of Georgia’s elected representatives got cold feet.  The thought of being put on the record is a scary proposition for some, and this is turning out to be an issue where principle is not as important as image.

Most Senators privately claim that they are for this bill, but they also fear a backlash of social conservative voters, who are believed to be more “single issue” in nature when arriving at the polls.  And thus, Senators this year seemed to devise a plan that would put the burden of passing this legislation on the record crop of freshmen legislators.

Is this the most pressing matter in the nation? Far from it.  But if we can’t convince our politicians to act with backbone and principle on smaller issues, can we expect them to do so on the really tough votes?

This is a seemingly minor, but frequent high-drama issue at the state level. If you’re in Georgia (I’m looking at you Erick), and feel like getting this off the perpetual argument list, call your state senator and let the know that the people are quite capable of deciding this issue for themselves.