CONTRIBUTED BY: Pat Jarrett.
Photo: HANDOUT/Pat Jarrett
Photo: HANDOUT/Pat Jarrett

Decades late, Georgia lawmakers could vote to end Prohibition, poll taxes

It might surprise Georgians tailgating at UGA games, or out on the town in Atlanta, or ordering bloody marys at Sunday brunch, but a lawmaker said the state never ratified the end to Prohibition. Or to poll taxes, for that matter.

And Georgia Rep. Scot Turner, R-Holly Springs, is just the nerd to try to rectify that, decades after amendments to the Constitution on those issues became the law of the land.

The 21st Amendment repealing prohibition was ratified in 1933, not long after Franklin Roosevelt was elected president. Georgia didn’t join the rush to ratify the amendment repealing the prohibition against alcohol sales.

Then in 1964, the U.S. ratified the 24th Amendment, outlawing the charging of poll taxes to vote in federal elections. Use of the tax to suppress minority voting, a remnant of the Jim Crow era, had ended years earlier in Georgia. Again, Turner said, Georgia never ratified the amendment.

So last week, he and some of his colleagues filed resolutions to ratify both.

“As a history nerd, I was surprised to learn that Georgia never ratified these constitutional amendments,” Turner said. “Since they have long been the law of the land, ratification is nothing more than a housekeeping measure, but an important one nonetheless for our reputation as a forward-looking state.”

The resolutions will be available to be voted on by the General Assembly when lawmakers convene their regular session in January. 

If approved, the resolutions call on the governor to send a copy to the National Archives and Records Administration, President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, the speaker of the U.S. House and each member of the Georgia congressional delegation. 

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X