Legislation that would expand Sunday alcohol-pouring hours in Georgia restaurants by two hours will get a second shot next year.
House Bill 535, dubbed the Sunday Brunch bill, will be reintroduced in the state Senate during next year’s Georgia General Assembly and could see strong momentum, say its supporters.
If approved, the legislation would allow municipalities to opt in to permit their restaurants to start serving alcohol on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Today, restaurants must wait until 12:30 p.m. to pour a drink.
During the last session, the legislation passed through the House of Representatives. But it was halted in the Senate Rules Committee and didn’t make it to the Senate floor for a vote.
“It’s still alive in the Senate,” Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville, the measure’s chief sponsor, said at the Dec. 9 annual meeting of the Georgia Hotel & Lodging Association. “I’ll work with the Senate lead and see if they’re willing to call it for a vote. I think if we put it on the floor, it will pass overwhelmingly.”
Yet, Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, said the bill would face opposition due to religious reasons. He said the restrictive hours were part of the original passage of the Sunday sales legislation that Gov. Nathan Deal signed in 2011.