As Georgians head to the polls Tuesday to choose their next governor, residents in 87 cities and counties across the state will also decide whether they want to start their boozy brunches earlier on Sundays.
The General Assembly earlier this year passed a law, known as the “brunch bill,” that left it up to local residents to decide whether they want restaurants and wineries to sell alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into law in May.
Current law requires restaurants and stores to wait until 12:30 p.m. to begin selling beer, wine and liquor on Sundays. Retail establishments still will have to wait until 12:30 p.m. to begin Sunday sales.
In metro Atlanta, voters in 29 cities and counties will decide on earlier alcohol sales.
State Sen. Renee Unterman, a Buford Republican who sponsored the legislation that allows local residents to vote on the time change, said she was excited to hear that so many local governments opted to put the question before voters.
Unterman said she introduced the bill because she didn’t believe it was fair for state-run properties, such as the Georgia World Congress Center, to be allowed to sell alcohol early on Sundays while private businesses had to wait until 12:30 p.m.
“To me, it was an issue of fairness,” she said. “It was not fair for the state to be held to a different standard than the cities and the counties.”
If voters approve the change, each government will decide when they want it to go into effect.
For example, the Atlanta City Council voted in August that the change would take place immediately if voters approve the earlier time — meaning restaurants could offer mimosas and bloody marys beginning at 11 a.m. as soon as Sunday.
Gov. Sonny Perdue and the Senate killed several attempts to pass bills allowing alcohol sales at stores on Sunday. Legislation allowing such sales finally passed in 2011, during Deal’s first year in office.
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