Bill to allow early alcohol sales on Sundays in Georgia advances

A House panel gave its approval Tuesday to legislation that would allow restaurants to sell alcohol to their clients earlier on Sundays.

Senate Bill 17, known as the "Brunch Bill" at the Capitol, would move up the time alcoholic beverages can be sold from 12:30 p.m. to 11 a.m. on Sundays if local voters approve a referendum to do so.

The House Regulated Industries Committee backed the bill Tuesday, moving it closer to being debated on the House floor.

It won’t be the first time the House considers the issue.

In 2016, a similar measure, House Bill 535, passed the chamber but died in the Senate.

State Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, who introduced SB 17, was pleased with the outcome Tuesday.

“A lot of us have worked very diligently on this bill for the past two years, and I think we have finally come to a very successful product,” Unterman said.

Currently, restaurants and retail stores cannot sell alcohol until 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, although government-run facilities, including the Georgia World Congress Center, can sell earlier.

Opponents say moving up the time would increase alcohol abuse, but supporters see it as a way for businesses to give customers what they want.

If approved, the local voters in each jurisdiction will decide whether restaurants can begin selling and serving alcohol early on Sundays.

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