RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina House lawmakers reviewed Senate Bill 527 Tuesday morning, which aims to overhaul alcohol policies in the state.
If passed, the bill would clear the way for counties and municipalities to decide for themselves the issue of ABC stores staying open on Sundays, happy hours, and alcohol delivery from bars and restaurants.
“This is a local option. The ABC board would have to agree, and they would petition their governing board if they would also concur with that request. If both of those standards are met, then a Sunday option for beverage sells would pass in that community,” said N.C. Senator Timothy Moffitt, one of the co-sponsors of the bill.
During public comment, restaurant and distillery industry leaders hailed the proposed legislation as a step towards progress, and keeping North Carolina competitive in the industry.
Public comment also brought dissent from Mark Creech, the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, who took issue with the bill as whole, especially the allowance of the Sunday sale of liquor.
In a later interview, Creech said, “We’ll have the interference possibly in a lot of situations of alcohol abuse and how that will stain the day. I have always made the case with lawmakers that they have an obligation to churches, just like they to do businesses, to everything they can to enhance their ability to prosper. Churches hold the very soul over our culture in their hands.”
Some members of the public, however, welcomed the possibility of available ABC liquor stores on Sundays.
“Awesome, yea, that’s a great idea, come on. Why not, right? Come on,” said on grocery store shopper.
Tuesday’s meeting did not bring the bill to a vote but allowed time for public comment after a general review.