Smart moves on Sunday sales law

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Troy City Council is looking to hold a referendum on Sunday alcohol sales with one very important parameter added in: the sales won’t be able to start until noon or after.

This may not be the best move in the opinion of all residents – in fact, a recent Messenger poll showed 47 percent of responders favored no limits on Sunday sales. Those against Sunday sales entirely comprised 32 percent of responders. The remaining 20 percent said they’d vote for Sunday sales, with some limits.

Now, an online poll of that nature is by no means an accurate depicter of how a referendum would turn out – the sample size isn’t large enough, it wasn’t limited to Troy residents, users could potentially vote multiple times – the list goes on.

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At a glance, however, it can be seen how some limits being imposed could help get the referendum passed in the long run.

The reality of the vote is that the largest number of voters favored Sunday sales without limits, but most of those would likely still vote for Sunday sales with some light limitations in place. After all, 12 hours of Sunday sales would still likely bring in restaurants, a big selling point of allowing Sunday sales.

At the same time, limiting the sale to after noon, which is practically synonymous in the South for “once church lets out,” could grab some of those in-betweeners to the “Yes” side of the vote.

I highly doubt the number of voters lost by imposing a limit would outweigh the number of voters gained by assuring one “protection” against the sale.

Without any limits crafted into the bill, residents that would only vote for Sunday sale with limits would have to put a lot of trust on councilmembers to go in and whittle it down. This language promises at least one limit.

Whether that limit is good for business and the citizens of Troy is an entirely different argument. Some may be upset that half of the day has already been blocked out, but the truth is that change is hard and some people may need to be eased into this.

Imagine if the limit wasn’t included. According to our poll, albeit unscientific, 20 percent of voters could choose to vote no, afraid that once the policy is passed no limits will come. That would be enough to tip the scales to a result that would keep Sunday sales from being a reality. Time will tell if it was the right move, but if the city’s goal is to recruit businesses, there’s no denying it was a smart one.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter for The Messenger. Contact him at