Sunday sales update

Word is that State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) is arguing – post-caucus meeting – that local referenda on Sunday alcohol sales violates the United States Constitution. Uh, seriously?

Seabaugh said:

Others, such as Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R- Sharpsburg, said he believes it is the responsibility of the General Assembly to decide for the state. Georgia should not be a state where every issue is decided by referendums, he said.

Seabaugh said he would not vote in support of the legislation.

His absurd claims of unconstitutionality aside, Seabaugh does have a point about the legislature punting tough issues to voters. We’ve seen that year after year, whether it’s funding for trauma care or tax hikes to fund transportation. I’m not in favor of these things, but these guys are elected to make these decisions. Why have a legislature if they are going to constantly defer to voters rather than cast tough votes?

Anyway, the caucus meeting gave Senators an opportunity to voice their opinions. No consensus was reached (not that they were trying to do so), but leadership will do a vote count later today to see if support is there to bring the bill forward.

[UPDATE] I spoke with Sen. Seabaugh about his comments. He says, contrary to my sources (who could have just misunderstood what Seabaugh said), that he has only raised the question about referendum because the state Constitution gives the legislature the ability to regulate alcohol.

Article III, Section VI, Paragraph VII of the Georgia Constitution states, “The State of Georgia shall have full and complete authority to regulate alcoholic beverages and to regulate, restrict, or prohibit activities involving alcoholic beverages. This regulatory authority of the state shall include all such regulatory authority as is permitted to the states under the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This regulatory authority of the state is specifically delegated to the counties and municipalities of the state for the purpose of regulating, restricting , or prohibiting the exhibition of nudity, partial nudity, or depictions of nudity in connection with the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages; and such delegated regulatory authority may be exercised by the adoption and enforcement of regulatory ordinances by the counties and municipalities of this state. A general law exercising such regulatory authority shall control over conflicting provisions of any local ordinance but shall not preempt any local ordinance provisions not in direct conflict with general law.”

The term “regulation” is open ended. Regulations can be defined by statutory law, including allowing counties and municipalities the ability to hold a referendum on the issue. Seabaugh’s question is weak.

24 comments

  1. Tiberius says:

    Find me a rich person in Newnan or Peachtree City who wants to be a Senator and has the guts to oppose Seabaugh in a primary!!!

  2. If it’s unconstitutional, then they should go ahead and just legalize Sunday sales altogether. Since that’s not going to happen, here’s a compromise… go ahead and pass this bill and then follow it up with another bill next year to legalize Sunday sales period.

  3. Tiberius says:

    Its a cop-out. This is like watching a child trying to come up with an addtional excuse why they didnt do a chore.

    If you can’t argue merit then argue procedure and this is their attmept to make this a procedural issue.

    Funny to see them admit they do nto want to give up some of their power though. A power grabbing move.

  4. Ya, it’s pretty clear that the Losertarians in this state have been attacking the 21st Amendment of the Constitution. Great job guys!

    “The State of Georgia shall have full and complete authority to regulate alcoholic beverages and to regulate, restrict, or prohibit activities involving alcoholic beverages. This regulatory authority of the state shall include all such regulatory authority as is permitted to the states under the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution. “

      • Actually, it’s been a full week of you crypto-libertarians misleading the public and implying that the State has no business in matters like this. I would say that “full and complete authority” makes it pretty clear that this has nothing to do with local-control.

  5. LukeSkywalkersTauntaun says:

    Yeah, Seabaugh is the same genius who proposed to REDUCE the number of Fulton County Superior Court judges to save money. Brilliant idea, since their criminal dockets are already overflowing.

    We are soooo lucky to have guys like him looking out for all of us.

  6. View from Brookhaven says:

    With the weather warming up towards the end of the week, I’m tempted to grab a lawn chair and a cooler full of the Devil’s Elixir and set up shop on the grass outside of the Gold Dome with a big sign that says “WHY DO YOU HATE FREEDOM?!”

    Who else is in? Impromptu Peach Pundit Road Show/Picnic? Ic, make it happen!

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