Sunday sales bill stalls in Senate

Published 3:00 am Friday, February 23, 2018

County commissioners will not get to vote on Sunday alcohol sales at their next meeting Monday as the bill will not make it through the Legislature in time.

Rep. Alan Boothe, R-Pike, passed a local bill through the House last week that would authorize the Pike County Commission to either vote directly on Sunday alcohol sales for the county or vote to put the issue on a referendum.

Boothe said earlier this week that the bill could have feasibly made it through the Senate and onto the desk of Gov. Kay Ivey by Thursday if the process went as smoothly as it did in the House.

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Sen. Jimmy Holley, R-Pike, said the bill had only just made it out of committee Thursday.

“I signed it out of committee today,” Holley said. “I’m not sure it got its second reading in the Senate; it lacks a couple more positions of movement to be able to pass.”

Holley said the bill must be read a second and third time before it can pass and be sent to the governor. The Senate does not meet again until Tuesday, which is after the Pike County Commission meeting.

Holley said depending on whether it has already had the second reading, the bill could be sent to the governor by Tuesday or Thursday next week.

Harry Sanders, county administrator said that the commission will be ready to make a decision as soon as the bill can be passed and placed on the agenda for a future meeting.

At least three commissioners – Charlie Harris, Homer Wright and Jimmy Barron – have expressed support for a direct commission vote to allow Sunday alcohol sales, while two – Russell Johnson and Chad Copeland – have expressed a desire to hold a referendum.

Chairman Robin Sullivan has declined to say how he will vote when the issue comes before the commission.

If the vote does go to a referendum, it will have to be placed on the general election ballot in November and all county residents, including those within the City of Troy, would have a say on the issue. The City of Troy already passed a referendum by a 3-1 margin to allow the sale of alcohol after noon on Sundays, except for bars and lounges, which must wait until 2 p.m. to begin selling alcohol and must stop at 10 p.m.

The county bill also limits sales to after noon to reflect the city’s ordinance.