A bill to let people drink earlier on Sundays at restaurants just passed the general assembly, but it's not a done deal.
If the governor signs the Mimosa or Brunch bill, which he's expected to, it will be put to the voters in the form of a referendum. Essentially, it allows them to decide in every municipality whether they want to extend hours of restaurant liquor sales on Sundays.
Supporters of bill point to the four thousand or so Georgia restaurants expected to benefit. This would include about 25 thousand dollars in extra revenue per year if they're allowed to serve alcohol at 11 a.m. instead of 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Critics say the social ills of excessive drinking are too great. Monday, one lawmaker said the overuse of alcohol is keeping people from getting jobs, especially in the rural areas where he says some people can't pass a drug test or can't drive to work because they've had driving privileges taken away. He says this bill won't help.
"Our state's motto is wisdom, justice and moderation. I just can't find the wisdom in expanding access to something that the data is beyond reasonable doubt - negatively impacts," said State Rep. Dominic Lariccia. "I don't see the justice for all of the ones that are most negatively impacted by alcohol. I certainly don't see the moderation in having 107 hours of drinking verses four and a half hours of prohibiting alcohol."
"It's critically important before a Super Bowl or large national or international event," said Georgia Restaurant Association CEO Karen Bremer. "People come here to Georgia and they don't understand. We're supposed to be a city of the future and, yet, we still have restrictive laws concerning alcohol. Alcohol consumption that just aren't an issue in other larger, international cities."
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