Once that genie was out of the bottle, different groups began to push for Sunday sales in “private” clubs in certain locations. The interesting twist there was that a restaurant in that location could declare itself to be a private club on Sunday and sell one-day memberships for a dollar. That was followed by other loopholes, opening up different cities and sports venues for alcohol sales.
Now the city of Pell City is asking legislators to introduce a bill to let the citizens vote in a referendum in August on whether to allow Sunday sales there – but only after time for church services to be over.
Maybe that’s to keep folks from surreptitiously purchasing six-packs while their neighbors are in the pews, but it will be no comfort to the pastor or priest who forgot to pick up the sacramental wine Saturday.
The mayor and council were unanimous in asking the state legislative delegation to put the matter on the ballot, citing concerns that local stores are losing Sunday sales to Leeds, and that the city is missing out on tax revenue. (Streets of gold, remember.) The council’s resolution was passed last March and failed to get through the legislature then, but it’s being revived now.
We don’t fault the mayor and council for wanting to give voters the option to make their opinions known.
What’s disturbing about it is the developing patchwork of jurisdictions across the state where sales can or can’t take place. The state legislature should have taken an everybody-or-nobody approach in the first place instead of carving out niches of advantage for first one lobbying group and then the next.
But it’s hard to get that genie back into his bottle.
Until our legislators decide state law should apply equally to all parts of the state, one way or the other (and we’re not holding our breath), we hope the people of Pell City will be satisfied with their decision in the years ahead.