Augusta voters approve Sunday alcohol sales

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:16 PM
Last updated Wednesday, March 7, 2012 1:09 AM
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Fewer than 12,000 voters turned out in favor of Sunday package alcohol sales Tuesday, but that was enough to carry the day. Of the 20,386 votes cast, 11,802 or about 58 percent, voted to approve the measure.

Mark Reeves casts his ballot at Julian Smith Casino. Turnout in Richmond County on Tuesday was about 20 percent, according to elections officials.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
JACKIE RICCIARDI/STAFF
Mark Reeves casts his ballot at Julian Smith Casino. Turnout in Richmond County on Tuesday was about 20 percent, according to elections officials.

Just over 20 percent of Richmond County’s 101,000 registered voters went to the polls.

Augusta Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles said he expected voters would approve the Sunday sales referendum, but not by an overwhelming margin.

“No matter where you go in the county, for every 10 people you poll, six will be for it and four against,” said Bowles, recalling that a similar measure passed in 1992 when he lived in Charleston, S.C. “I think the people finally had the option to make a choice.”

The passage allows Sunday package sales beginning March 31, but Augusta officials haven’t determined whether an additional license will be required. If the Augusta Commission does decide to require an additional permit, applicants would have to be approved by the commission, and the city’s planning and development office would have to ensure businesses without the special permits aren’t selling alcohol illegally, Augusta Licensing Director Rob Sherman said.

Some expect the availability of alcohol on Sundays will draw shoppers to Au­gusta from other counties. Grovetown approved Sunday sales in November, but the rest of Columbia County won’t vote on the measure until July.

Brittany Johnston, who cast her ballot at Julian Smith Casino, was among those who voted in favor of Sunday sales.

“Restaurants can serve alcohol on Sundays, so consuming a beverage should be fine at your home,” she said. “I hope it will bring in enough money to not raise my property taxes.”

Bowles said he didn’t expect additional revenue for Augusta from Sunday sales.

“I see it as a convenience for residents and for visitors that come to Augusta,” he said.

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Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 03/06/12 - 11:23 pm
13
1
I'd like to thank the brave

I'd like to thank the brave legislators that have caught flak for fighting to get this done. This was a LONG time coming for the State of GA and Richmond county. Freedom is making a comback. Very proud of our efforts and the volunteers that made this happen.

scott-hudson
10
Points
scott-hudson 03/06/12 - 11:32 pm
4
3
I applaud the the effort, and

I applaud the the effort, and it will ultimately keep more drunks off the streets, but now I have lost my only day off....

Frank I
1191
Points
Frank I 03/06/12 - 11:44 pm
6
0
Now that's not necessarily

Now that's not necessarily true Scott, just because you CAN sell doesn't mean you HAVE to sell, or perhaps you can arrange scheduling in the same way that other 7 day a week businesses do so that you can have a day off and still be open to sell.

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/06/12 - 11:49 pm
9
3
I respectfully disagree with

I respectfully disagree with you Taylor. The legislators in Atlanta are cowards. The new law says that alcohol can be sold from 12:30-11:30 PM on Sundays. The cowards under the golden dome still had to kiss some religious butt to get this thing passed. If you can buy liquor at 10:30 on a Saturday morning, you should be able to buy it at 10:30 on a Sunday morning. Under the laws of the land, one day of the week shouldn't have more meaning than the other days.

BuckeyeInGA
114
Points
BuckeyeInGA 03/07/12 - 12:10 am
2
3
Does anyone have any idea how

Does anyone have any idea how long our local politicians have had to discuss every single aspect of this law? And then to read from the above article that "The passage allows Sunday package sales beginning March 31, but Augusta officials haven’t determined whether an additional license will be required." Unbelievable that issues like these couldn't have been anticipated by someone. I am hoping that Scott Hudson can explain how Sunday sales "will keep more drunks off the streets."

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/07/12 - 12:13 am
6
0
As it is now you can only

As it is now you can only drink at a restaurant or bar on Sunday. If you can buy a bottle and take it home, the roads should, in theory, be safer.

scott-hudson
10
Points
scott-hudson 03/07/12 - 12:15 am
5
0
Yeah, but Frank...employees

Yeah, but Frank...employees cost money and in this economy it is tough to balance the books without being there almost all the time...If my competitors open, I almost have to do the same and we will...but this is good news, when I worked in the restaurant industry in college, I saw how people would line the bar waiting to be served...we had to hide to-go cups and face the liability of overserving...now if someone needs a drink that bad, they can buy it, go home, destroy their liver, and (hopefully) not get back on the street...It is a win win even if I have to put in a few extra hours.

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/07/12 - 12:20 am
12
2
Also, you shouldn't have to

Also, you shouldn't have to obtain a special license to do ANYTHING on Sunday if it's legal on the other days. If the crooks on the county commission require a Sunday license then sheriff Strength should arrest them for theft.

TParty
6003
Points
TParty 03/07/12 - 01:11 am
7
0
Exactly Bonk, exactly. There

Exactly Bonk, exactly. There should be some sort of amendment or asterisk for the people with licence to sell already- to allow them to continue on Sunday. Just something to print off online. There should be no extra fees, time, or anything.

And Buckeye raises a good point- don't the lawmakers think past the hour when a law will be in effect?

irishfarmer
24
Points
irishfarmer 03/07/12 - 01:30 am
6
1
Taylor B.- I agree with you

Taylor B.- I agree with you but i must change what you said just a little bit so that it is completely true. I thank republicans for making sure this became true and that this was possible. Democrats like Sen. Hardie Davis a big government liberal and the rhino Sen. Jesse Stone who is lucky J.B. Powell dropped out and as well lucky he haid no democratic party member running against him voted against this . What is funny is every huse member in richmond county voted for the right for county voters to decide. So for at least 1 time i say thanks to the following state reps. along with Rep. Simms. Thank you Rep. Murphy, Rep. Howard, Rep. Frazier, Rep. Smith. Even though you all are democrats who I tend to be quite critical of you were all right on Sunday alcohol sales and Sen Davs the joke and Sen. Stone the fake ya'll were wrong.

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/07/12 - 01:37 am
3
0
Very interesting,

Very interesting, Irishfarmer. How about we get a true initiative process in GA? By that I mean if we get enough signatures on a petition the people can vote and enact law with NO legislature or governor involvement. It's the only way we will ever see real change in this state. Right now, we only get to vote when the clowns in Atlanta give us their holy permission.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 03/07/12 - 07:07 am
1
7
I voted against this bill
Unpublished

I voted against this bill because it is just one more day that alcohol will
aid and abet violence, especially domestic violence. Alcohol plays a large role in crime and I am sure that abused women and children loved Sunday for the lack of alcohol.

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/07/12 - 08:03 am
6
0
Dickwork, I appreciate and

Dickwork, I appreciate and respect your comment. I've always said, whether to have alcohol at all should be the real question, leaving one particular religion's special day out of it. I can tell that your heart is in the right place, although a bit misguided. We tried to outlaw alcohol once before in this country, it was called prohibition. It was a major failure and the problems it caused were probably greater than the problems we see today from alcohol. I usually don't give human being a lot of credit, but perhaps one day, we as a species will figure this thing out.

seenitB4
87178
Points
seenitB4 03/07/12 - 08:10 am
5
0
Bonk sez.. We tried to outlaw

Bonk sez..

We tried to outlaw alcohol once before in this country, it was called prohibition. It was a major failure and the problems it caused were probably greater than the problems we see today from alcohol. I usually don't give human being a lot of credit, but perhaps one day, we as a species will figure this thing out.

I sure do like your posts...I wonder if we will see the figuring out in our lifetime?? :)

KSL
129484
Points
KSL 03/07/12 - 08:10 am
3
0
dickworth1, not all people

dickworth1, not all people who drink commit domestic violence, or any type of violence just like not all people who drink, drive under the influence. Your stance punishes the many because of the acts of a few. A better solution is to punish the few for their acts.

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/07/12 - 08:33 am
3
0
seenitB4, personally I think

seenitB4, personally I think if Georgia/Augusta comes into the 20th century before the 21st century is one quarter over, that would be a major victory.

ForeverFrog
1
Points
ForeverFrog 03/07/12 - 08:43 am
3
0
Wow! Common sense actually

Wow! Common sense actually prevailed in Richmond County.

blues550
376
Points
blues550 03/07/12 - 09:19 am
0
0
Bonk,sounds good till all the
Unpublished

Bonk,sounds good till all the blacks in Augusta get together and vote for the whites to leave. But I agree this is one of the many areas that is not the government's business.

As for domestic violence. Stupid argument. Identify the last time a bottle of Jim Beam lept off the shelf, strolled into a home and whacked anyone. The issue is people.

allhans
23645
Points
allhans 03/07/12 - 09:28 am
0
0
The folks that voted this in

The folks that voted this in don't know my in-laws. 2 drinks and they are like some on the R & R's.

Actually most of the time my in-laws are well behaved people. It's just that they can't handle their liquor.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/07/12 - 09:45 am
2
0
a toast, to you Joe and

a toast, to you Joe and Josephine Voter in RC!!!

DuhJudge
206
Points
DuhJudge 03/07/12 - 10:24 am
0
0
Do restaurants have to pay

Do restaurants have to pay for a Sunday sales license?

paperhearts
99
Points
paperhearts 03/07/12 - 11:11 am
3
0
Anything can be addictive and

Anything can be addictive and destroy families and lives. Using that logic we should ban all Sunday vices. Might as well just stay in bed all Sunday. Just because there are people that abuse a substance they shouldn't ruin the privileges of the majority that doesn't. Let's not blame a "thing" for alcoholism, people make the decisions that affect their lives, and they will make those decisions on a Friday or a Sunday.

Disciple21
0
Points
Disciple21 03/07/12 - 11:24 am
0
2
I wonder what the accident

I wonder what the accident rate on Sunday then all the other days of the weeks. I also would like to know what the dui and domestic violence rate on Sunday. Another thing what the fatality rate on Sunday. Do we think about how hard we making it policeman, fireman, and a addict who trying to stop drinking. Wow I wonder

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/07/12 - 11:36 am
1
0
That is true. Some churches

That is true. Some churches have to hire LEO's to direct traffic when they release from mass.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 03/07/12 - 11:45 am
1
1
Yes, restaurants pay dearly

Yes, restaurants pay dearly for Sunday sales licenses. The put them on the wall next to their business license. Check it out some time. Anyway the ballot was poorly written. It didn't say do you want Sunday sales. It said do you agree to let local government regulate the sale of alcohol on Sunday or something like that. I'm sure a lot of people were confused by it.

Cdr4500
20
Points
Cdr4500 03/07/12 - 01:06 pm
4
0
Hey all you people against
Unpublished

Hey all you people against this the 1920s called and it wants it's Temperance movement back.

realitycheck09
307
Points
realitycheck09 03/07/12 - 02:48 pm
2
1
dickworth - You're not being

dickworth - You're not being truthful. You didn't vote against Sunday Sales because you think it will increase violence of anything like that. You voted against it because you, likely, in your interpretation of the Bible believe that allowing Sunday sales is contrary to "keeping the sabbath holy."

Anyone who voted against Sunday Sales only did so because of religion. All the other "arguments" are just smoke and mirrors. Otherwise, ask yourself..why did we just HAPPEN to outlaw it on Sunday in the first place instead of, say, Tuesday?

Bonk
8
Points
Bonk 03/07/12 - 03:10 pm
2
0
Reality check: nice comment.

Reality check: nice comment. Usually when Georgia lawmakers come face to face with Christian ministers, they run and hide like little girls. Slowly, this is changing but this state has a loooooooong way to go.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 03/07/12 - 03:18 pm
2
0
It was an antiquated rule.

It was an antiquated rule. Keeping it in force was just a way to hang on to the idea of an Olde South while at the same time making those who vote based on religious principles content that they are still relevant enough in local government.

Little Lamb
46017
Points
Little Lamb 03/07/12 - 03:21 pm
0
1
Maybe those little girls need

Maybe those little girls need to run and hide, Bonk!

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