The Senate voted 32-22 in favor of Senate Bill 10, which would allow local jurisdictions to decide if the sales will be allowed in their community.
State Sen. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville, backed the bill, as did state Sen. Jeff Mullis, R-Chickamauga. Mullis said the measure is the only way to ensure populous urban areas of the state don’t force Sunday sales on rural areas.
“If this passes and it’s ever on the ballot in Chickamauga, which I doubt, I’ll vote against it,” Mullis said during the more than three-hour debate preceding the vote. “But I am for local control.”
Today is the last day for a bill to pass at least one chamber or be tabled until next year’s session.
An amendment adopted prior to the vote includes a provision to let the local jurisdiction also set the time-frame for Sunday sales, within the parameters of 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Loudermilk proposed an amendment that would have required the local vote to also reaffirm any Sunday alcohol by-the-drink sales already approved in the jurisdiction.
“It gives the people the opportunity to truly vote on Sunday sales,” he said. That amendment failed, 12 – 41.