County Sunday sales could get vote Monday

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Pike County Commission could be voting on Sunday alcohol sales as soon as Monday, Feb. 26 according to a local lawmaker.

Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Pike, said the bill passed unopposed on the House floor last week and has now moved on to Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Pike, for passage through the Senate.

Holley could not be reached before publishing time, but Boothe said if it is passed through the Senate the same way it passed through the House, then it could be on the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey by Thursday or Friday.

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“It’s currently awaiting action in the Senate,” Boothe said. “The Senate had already gone home when we passed it, but Sen. Holley said he would be bringing it before the Senate first thing Tuesday for the first reading … It very well could all get done this week.”

The bill would authorize the commission to either vote on the issue of Sunday sales immediately by a simple vote of the commission or by posing a referendum to the citizens of Pike County.

Harry Sanders, county administrator, said if the bill is passed before the commission meeting Monday it could be added to the agenda.

Chairman Robin Sullivan said he believes the commission would be ready to vote if it does come up for discussion.

“I would say the commission is ready to vote on it would be my guess,” Sullivan said. “We’ll have to decide at the commission meeting to either vote at the table or for a referendum.”

Sullivan declined to say whether he would prefer a commission vote or referendum.

Charlie Harris, who brought forward the motion to vote on countywide Sunday sales, has declared his stance that the issue should be decided among the commissioners.

“We’re the governing body of this county and we should have the right to vote anything up or down,” Harris said. “We’re just piggybacking off of the City of Troy. Honestly, I believe when they were doing their resolution we should have included the whole county and not jus the City of Troy; we should have legalized it as a whole.”

Commissioners Homer Wright and Jimmy Barron have also stated that they are in support of taking the vote head-on.

Russell Johnson was the lone commissioner to vote against the bill originally, stating he would only support a bill if the vote were put to the people.

“I would wholeheartedly support this if it was to ask to hold a referendum,” Johnson said at the time of the vote. “But I have some angst about not having one. I think the city set the precedent that this is a referendum issue. My fear is that this could set a precedent of ramming thing down people’s throats.”

Chad Copeland did not oppose the bill as drafted, but also said he was in favor of putting the vote to a referendum.

Allen Jones, county attorney, said that a tie vote of 3-3 would result in the vote being tabled to a further meeting.

The bill includes language that would only allow for one voting mechanism to take place, eliminating the possibility that a failed referendum could be overridden later by a commission vote. The bill also limits a referendum on the issue to be held in conjunction with a regularly scheduled election, which would likely mean no vote on the issue until November if the commission chooses to hold a referendum. There is a primary election in June as well if the county could get the issue added to the ballot in time and chose to do so.

In following with the ordinance passed by a 3-1 referendum vote in the City of Troy on Oct. 10, 2017, the bill limits the sale of alcohol to after noon.

The commission will meet Monday, Feb. 26 upstairs at the Pike County Health Department. The work session will begin at 5:15 p.m. and will include a presentation from Lockheed Martin referencing their petition for the county to transfer a portion of County Road 7717 to the company. There will also be time for public comment. The business meeting will follow at approximately 6 p.m.