Sunday liquor sales bill dies in the Senate

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 9, 2007

Staff Report

Sunday liquor sales are no longer a possibility for Selma and 13 other municipalities in the state.

At least not for now.

Email newsletter signup

A statewide bill authorizing Sunday liquor referendums in 14 Alabama cities died on the last day of the legislative session Thursday. The bill by Rep. Craig Ford, D-Gadsden, did not make it to the floor, according to reports.

On May 2, the Alabama House passed a similar bill clearing the way for the cities to call for referendums on legalizing Sunday liquor sales.

The bill passed the House 59-28.

However, on a day that included a filibuster and a fist fight, the Senate just couldn’t get to the legislation.

Republican Sen. Charles Bishop of Jasper punched Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron of Fyffe in the head after Barron reportedly called him a “son of a bitch,” according to the Associated Press. Barron denies using any profanity.

Bishop later said he should not have hit his colleague.

The filibuster came about as minority senators used delaying tactics much of the day in an unsuccessful effort to force the Democratic leadership to bring up a bill to ban the transfer of campaign donations from PAC-to-PAC, the AP reported.

At the time of the House’s approval of the Sunday liquor sales bill, Mayor James Perkins Jr. said, “let the people vote” in regards to a referendum being put before citizens.

Sunday liquor sales would “definitely” increase business at the Selma Curb Market, which sells beer and wine, said Peggy Tharp, night manager.

“So many other places around us sell it on Sunday. People come in and aren’t used to not being able to buy it,” she said.

David Raney of Bob’s Grocery on Old Orrville Road said everyone’s business would increase if voters approved Sunday liquor sales.

“I don’t see why they won’t,” he said. “The rest of the state does.”

During House debate, some members said allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays would increase tourism, while others expressed concern over the evils of drinking alcoholic beverages.

Rep. DuWayne Brides, R-Valley, said Sunday should be reserved for going to church, not for drinking.

The 14 cities that would have been affected by the legislation were Selma, Gadsden, Tuscaloosa, Anniston, Athens, Alexander City, Decatur, Dothan, Enterprise, Florence, Talladega, Ozark, Sheffield and Sylacauga.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.