Anniston legislation would allow Sunday alcohol sales for ecotourism
by Tim Lockette
Jan 17, 2013 | 9959 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MONTGOMERY — Sen. Del Marsh, R-Anniston, is preparing to file a bill that would give the Anniston City Council the power to approve Sunday alcohol sales.

Marsh said he’s filing the bill at the request of City Council members, who believe Sunday sales would boost ecotourism in the area.

“In conversations I’ve had with the mayor and council members, they’ve said they feel this is something the city needs,” Marsh said.

Anniston City Councilman Seyram Selase provided The Star with a copy of the bill. Titled the “Anniston Ecotourism Beverage Bill,” the measure would allow alcoholic beverages to “be sold each day of the week … by licensed clubs and retail licensees of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board within the city of Anniston if approved by a majority vote” of the City Council.

“We’re just asking the Legislature to give us the ability to decide this on our own,” Selase said.

Selase said the “ecotourism” in the title of the bill refers to the effort to attract tourists to the city. Anniston’s biking events and road races have brought a growing number of visitors to the city, typically on weekends. Selase said the bill would allow the city to consider whether it should open up Sunday sales to make the city more attractive to those tourists.

“There are cities like Birmingham and Mobile that have passed this, and it’s turned out well,” said Councilman David Reddick.

Reddick said he was willing to consider Sunday sales, and he said he supported the bill “because it puts the power in the hands of the people.”

Bills governing local matters must be published in a newspaper of general circulation before they’re filed in the House or Senate. Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart said Thursday that the bill would be published on Saturday.

Marsh said he filed the bill out of deference to the wishes of the members of the council. Reddick and Selase said individual council members had spoken to members of the legislative delegation about the bill.

Selase said council members were still seeking a sponsor for a House version of the bill. Local bills typically fail unless they have the approval of the entire local delegation in the House and Senate.

Once filed, the bill would be considered during the next legislative session, which begins Feb. 5.

Capitol & statewide correspondent: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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