After five years of heated lobbying that pitted grocery and convenience stores against preachers, the Georgia General Assembly gave final approval Tuesday to legislation that could lead to Sunday package sales, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Governor Nathan Deal has already said he will sign Senate Bill 10, which the House approved Tuesday by a vote of 127-44. The measure had earlier passed the Senate after being stalled there since early 2007.
The legislation would allow city councils and county commissions to call for referendums on Sunday alcohol sales at stores. Voters could see it on ballots as early as November in cities with elections. They will likely have to wait until next year in counties and cities without 2011 elections.
Georgians can already buy beer, wine and liquor at restaurants and bars on Sunday in many locations.
Religious conservatives fought the latest Sunday sales bill hard, arguing that it was an attempt to chip away at the Christian Sabbath. They also said it would lead to an increase in alcohol-related traffic deaths.