Senator Jeff Mullis, a Republican from Chickamauga that represents Chattooga, Walker, Dade and Catoosa Counties in the State Senate has withdrawn his co-sponsorship of legislation that would have allowed local areas to sell alcohol on Sundays.

Mullis told the Walker County Messenger that his intent was never to force Sunday Alcohol sales on the public, but rather to keep that decision a local one.  Mullis stated that his intent was to prevent Sunday Alcohol sales from being forced on areas that did not want it.

Here is a copy of Mullis’ statement:

Recently, it was reported that I am co-sponsoring a bill in the Georgia Senate that, if passed, would allow Sunday alcohol sales across the state. However, it should be understood that my interest in passing such a bill was never intended to require local municipalities to sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday but to provide local lawmakers with legal grounds for opposing such measures if they choose.

I have stated publicly, and will state again for those who are unsure of my position, I am against Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages, especially in the 53rd District. However, I am for local control. I believe it is the Constitutional right of the people of this state to have the ability to choose the laws that will govern their communities and not the prerogative of the state to impose such laws.

The fact that many voters do not realize is there have been several attempts by state lawmakers to impose upon local communities a law that mandates Sunday sales over the years. One of the fears I share with many rural legislators is that the growing support for Sunday sales will lead to a bill legalizing the state-wide Sunday sale of alcohol, with local communities having no say in the matter. In other words, enough support from urban legislators could lead to Sunday sales in the 53rd District, regardless of local dissent. A similar bill was actually proposed last year. Fortunately, it did not pass, but my fear is that growing urban support could lead to such a bill passing in the near future. I believe that any such law that compromises the will of the people of this state is wrong. Again, local communities should be given the right to make such choices without the state forcing any such provisions upon them.

The bill I was working on is a bipartisan effort that will give local control to the people of our communities, and the right to decide if they want alcohol sales on Sunday. While I am and remain opposed to such sales, I believe that such decisions should be decided through a vote. I believe this to be the meaning of the U.S. Constitution when it describes government as “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Because of the sensitivity of Sunday sales, I have decided for the sake of clarity that I will no longer co-sponsor Senate Bill 16, which will soon be introduced on the floor of the Senate. However, any measure that is designed solely to protect the Constitutional rights of the people of the State of Georgia will always merit my support.

While very few voices of opposition have been raised from our district, I feel that I should no longer co-sponsor the bill because I do not want my position of opposition for Sunday alcohol sales to be misconstrued.

As always, thank you for your continued support and prayers.