Georgia Brunch Bill aims to level the field for restaurants
Support SB 17 – Georgia’s Brunch Bill to modernize our alcohol laws
Picture this, you wake up on Sunday morning and laze around the house with your coffee for a while and decide you’re in the mood for brunch. You head out to your favorite restaurant at 11:00 AM (a proper and traditional brunch time) and order Eggs Benedict and a mimosa. The server tells you that’s not going to happen, as they can’t sell you alcohol before 12:30 PM on Sundays. However, if you were to go to an event at the Georgia Dome (a state-owned facility) at the same time you could get an overpriced beer or other alcoholic beverage, because state-owned facilities and private clubs don’t follow the same rules, and that’s not right.
Georgia’s Brunch Bill has been a hot topic for many years. Last year, Senate Majority Leader Cowsert said he was opposed to the change as, “it offends the religious sensibilities of a large portion of the population.” (Source: AJC). If Sen. Cowsert thinks this is religiously offensive why doesn’t that same hold true for Georgia’s state-owned facilities?
The Georgia Restaurant Association is working in conjunction with several Senators to change the laws. SB 17 would allow for municipalities to opt in to permit their restaurants to start serving alcohol at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. This creates a level playing field with state-owned facilities such as the Georgia World Congress Center, Lake Lanier Islands, as well as the many other private country clubs in Georgia. Note that municipalities have to opt in, so each area can do what is appropriate for them, this wouldn’t apply statewide automatically.
Want to skip the details and show your support? Contact your Senator and let them know you support this bill. Share this post, or any of these, on social media to raise awareness. Many people don’t know of the unbalanced laws, or that the fight to change them has been going on for years. Your support in raising awareness can give a boost to the cause.
Changing the law would be a huge benefit for restaurant owners as well as the state. Each restaurant could see up to $25,000 additional annual revenue with the potential of $11 Million of additional tax revenue for the state.
Brunch Bill Facts and Figures
- Tennessee & North Carolina allow Sunday sales starting at 12:00 PM.; Florida allows Sunday sales starting at 7:00 AM
- South Carolina & Alabama allow local referendums to decide but state wide do not allow it. Some places that have passed a local referendum (i.e. Tuscaloosa) allow at noon.
- The GA Dome and LP Field (Tennessee Titans Stadium) are allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays at 10:30 AM and 10:00 AM, respectively.
- Greenwood Co., South Carolina passed a law to allow alcohol sales on Sunday and Sarasota passed a law to allow alcohol sales to start at 6:00 AM on Sunday.
- Lake Lanier Islands and other private clubs in Georgia are allowed to sell alcohol at 10:30 AM on Sundays.
- Passing a brunch bill would have a huge economic impact on the restaurant and the state of Georgia. More food and beverage sales = more tax revenue for the state of Georgia and more jobs.
- Each restaurant that can sell alcohol will generate an extra $25,000 a year (extra $480.77 on Sundays).
- There are about 4,000 restaurants in Georgia that could benefit which would mean a total of $100 million extra in revenue and at 11% total taxes, $11 million more in taxes.
*Numbers were derived from a restaurant case study.
- The Brunch Bill, formerly known as HB 535, was introduced during the 2015 legislative session in the House of Representatives by State Representative Brett Harrell. You can read more about the bill here.
- The Brunch Bill received strong support in the House of Representatives and was the fastest bill to make it through the legislative process this session; however was halted in the Senate Rules Committee during the 2016 legislative session and therefore wasn’t allowed to be voted on the floor.
- In 2017, the brunch bill was reintroduced in the Senate as SB 17, sponsored by Senator Renee Unterman, Senator Butch Miller, Senator Frank Ginn, Senator Jeff Mullis, Senator Brandon Beach, Senator Lester Jackson and other.