The “Mimosa Mandate” is on its way to the governor’s desk.
Georgia lawmakers gave the final approval to the “brunch bill” Monday. The bill would let individual cities and counties vote on whether they want to let restaurants start serving alcohol at 11 a.m. on Sundays instead of 12:30 p.m.
The House passed the final bill but not without opposition.
State Rep. Dominic LaRiccia, R-Douglas, spoke out against the measure.
“Local control is important,” LaRiccia said. “But Adam and Eve had local control in the Garden of Eden and bit that fruit and it was the fall of humanity. We keep taking a bite out of that apple.”
LaRiccia said earlier alcohol sales means a higher chance of alcohol related crimes such as drunk driving incidents.
Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association, said the 90-minute change goes a long way in increasing business for restaurants.
“We’ve had many restaurateurs that have changed their hours to starting serving at 12:30 p.m. because if they open at 11 a.m. for lunch, which is a traditional time for people to open for lunch, patrons get upset that they can’t order a mimosa at 11’o’clock in the morning,” Bremer said.
State Rep. Meagan Hanson, R-Brookhaven, sponsored the bill and said there is also a great economic benefit.
“This simple change is expected to increase sales by approximately $100 million,” Hanson said.
State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, was not in favor of that argument.
“I know that the sound of the cash register excites us about the new tax revenue but at some point we need to draw the line,” Williams said.
Restaurants in the state that currently serve alcohol stand to gain an extra $25,000 a year or an extra $480 each Sunday by moving the start time to 11 a.m, according to data from the Georgia Restaurant Association.
Their data shows this also could lead to an additional $11 million in tax revenue.
The House passed the bill 97 to 64. If Gov. Nathan Deal signs it, it would then go to referendum for voters.