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Senate Bill 17 Would Allow Restaurants to Serve Booze on Sunday Morning

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New Sunday ‘Brunch Bill’ passes its first hurdle

Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

On Tuesday, January 30, the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee voted 6 to 4 in favor of Senate Bill 17 (SB 17) better known as the ‘Brunch Bill’. The committee handles the licensing and regulating of Georgia’s utilities such as gas and electric as well as alcoholic beverages.

This latest iteration of the Brunch Bill would allow restaurants to serve alcohol and retail stores to sell beer and wine on Sundays beginning at 11 a.m. rather than 12:30 p.m. The new bill was introduced by Republican state senator Renee Unterman of Buford. She has referred to it as her “mimosa mandate”.

Senate Bill 17 must pass both the state House and Senate before putting the final decision to allow Sunday morning booze sales into the hands of Georgia voters. The last brunch bill (HB 535) to go to the Georgia General Assembly was in 2016. It quickly passed the House but was stopped by the Senate Rules Committee. The bill died before hitting the floor of the Senate.

Last year, SB 17 failed to make the cut on the state legislature’s ‘Crossover Day’. The day marks the deadline in the legislative calendar in which lawmakers can pass a bill and move it forward to the other chamber.

In 2015, the Georgia Restaurant Association estimated allowing Sunday morning alcohol sales could generate an average of $25,000 per year for the state’s restaurants, many of whom are independently owned or small, family-owned businesses.