The second week of the 2017 Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature is now complete. House Bill 70 (HB70), sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole passed out of committee and will go to the full House for a vote. This bill lowers the age of majority from 19 to 18 years, but it originally included an exception for tobacco products, which would remain at 19 years old. However, the original bill did not include an exception for alcohol. The sponsor agreed to offer a substitute bill with language that keeps the purchase, possession and/or use of alcoholic beverages limited to age 21 and above. We are grateful for Rep. Poole making sure that this correction was made before passing the bill out of committee.
Next week, the House Economic Development and Tourism (ED&T) Committee will hold public hearings on four alcohol-related bills and ALCAP plans to speak against each bill. HB47 will allow a community development that meets certain criteria to sell alcoholic beverages even though part of the development will be located in a dry county. According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. James Buskey, there was a mistake in last year’s legislation and this bill simply corrects that error.
HB57, sponsored by Rep. Ron Johnson will allow an already existing community/commercial development district that is located in a wet county, but one that does not allow Sunday alcohol sales, to have Sunday alcohol sales within the commercial district.
HB133, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Greer, will make it legal for a winery to operate in a dry county that has at least one wet municipality. This is the most egregious of the bills in committee this coming week. Wineries are located in rural areas, and yet it is the rural populations of these dry counties that have voted not to legalize alcoholic beverages. “Big Alcohol” continues to force this mind-altering drug into the lives of individuals and families, even in areas where the citizens have voted NO to alcohol sales. Please let the members of the House Economic Development and Tourism Committee know of your opposition to HB133! CLICK HERE for a list of the committee members and their contact information.
HB134, sponsored by Rep. David Faulkner, would allow tasting of wine and beer in grocery stores that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages. That’s all we need! People drinking and then driving out of the crowded grocery store parking lots with children in the area! Again, we urge you to contact the members of the House ED&T Committee and urge them to oppose this bill, as well.
For now, gambling seems to be on the “back burner.” As soon as the Governor’s Advisory Council on Gaming (Gambling) completes its report, which could come before the end of the 2017 Regular Session, we expect a flurry of activity to get pro-gambling bills passed. We will keep you posted as events unfold.
Continue to pray for the legislators, lobbyists and staff of the Alabama Legislature.