Senator wants to leave Sunday sales ‘in the hands of the people themselves’

Published 1:07pm Monday, March 17, 2014

An impromptu question and answer session broke out between Sen. Bryan Taylor (R-Prattville) and Kevin Taylor of The Wetumpka Herald.

To preface the questions and answers, the senator contacted our reporter to find out how many restaurants had closed for good within the city of Wetumpka.

Here is how the rest of the conversation went:

BT: Hate to say it, but Wetumpka needs to prepare for more of the same. In every study where a new casino opened, it puts local restaurants and businesses out of business.

BT: Prattville in the last six months has gotten new 5 Guys, Starbucks, Chappy’s Deli and Gigi’s Cupcakes. None serve alcohol but business is growing. They don’t have to compete with a casino.

KT: True, but you are also talking about a town that does offer Sunday (alcohol) sales where presently Millbrook and Wetumpka do not.

BT: Fair enough. I still think based on all the studies that there will be additional businesses closing their doors.

KT: Would the (restaurants) still be in business if Sunday sales were in effect? That’s the question you need to consider. Let’s level the playing field first and see what happens.

BT: Agree. Let’s see what the people of Wetumpka want.

KT: If the playing field isn’t leveled then more money will go to Prattville.

BT: Why does everyone point to Prattville?

KT: Did Prattville have a special referendum on Sunday sales?

KT: I think everyone points to Prattville because it’s one part of Elmore County which may seem to get preferential treatment over the rest of the county.

BT: But nobody ever says a word about Montgomery – the real culprit that killed Sunday sales last year. And Wetumpka’s bill last year required a referendum!

KT: But my question to you is this: Did Prattville have a special referendum on Sunday sales?

BT: I don’t think so, but that was long before I even lived in Prattville with David Bronner leading the way for the RTJ course. I moved to Prattville in 2009 and decided to run for office in 2010 and made a campaign promise not to force legalization of Sunday sales on communities in my district without a referendum.

BT: Wetumpka could have both draft and Sunday sales with my bills if the people want it. If they don’t, why should the Legislature force it?

KT: But your district does not represent all of Wetumpka. Why do you feel compelled to go forth with your personal agenda and not the people’s agenda? Did you have a town hall meeting to garner all of Wetumpka’s opinion regarding this bill? Not to mention your district doesn’t include the casino, so why do you feel so much contempt toward it?

BT: How is supporting a referendum my personal agenda? I’m arguing for leaving the issue in the hands of the people themselves.

BT: I’d ask whose agenda is behind denying people the right to vote on legalizing Sunday sales.

BT: Secondly, the vast majority of Sunday sales bills passed by the Legislature require a referendum. This is the general rule. It’s typical. This is the way it usually works – by and large the Legislature lets the people of the city or the county decide in a referendum.

BT: Bottom line, if the delegation would pass my bills, Wetumpka and Millbrook could have draft beer tomorrow … and also Sunday sales after approval of a majority of their citizens in a referendum. It’s a no-brainer. Why would anyone who wants draft beer and Sunday sales oppose that?

KT: True, but it’s all about fairness (in Wetumpka and Millbrook), and the people feel like they are not treated the same as the folks in Prattville. Their feeling is that just because Prattville didn’t vote on Sunday sales and it was sent without a hitch through the Legislature, then Millbrook and Wetumpka should be afforded the same courtesy.

BT: Then the question seems to be why didn’t Wetumpka and Millbrook already have Sunday sales before I was elected?

KT: I agree. And a very fair question.

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