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One News Now

Brunch Ordinance for Earlier Alcohol Sales on Sundays Fails in Bryson City

By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
September 20, 2017

Old Swain Co. Courthouse, Bryson City

BRYSON CITY – The county seat of Swain County, Bryson City, said no to a Brunch Ordinance proposal last week (Wednesday, September 13th).

According to the Smokey Mountain News (SMN), the room was full of people to hear what Aldermen would decide on the initiative. Three of the four Aldermen said that they were against the new ordinance, which would have allowed for earlier alcohol sales on Sunday mornings.

In June of this year, the North Carolina General Assembly passed SB 155 – ABC Omnibus Legislation, which authorized towns, cites, and counties to begin alcohol sales two hours earlier on Sundays. Current law allows sales to start on Sunday only after the noon hour. But since the passage of SB 155 and Governor Roy Cooper’s signing of the measure into law, Sunday sales of alcohol can begin at 10:00 a.m. if local governing bodies approve an ordinance to do so.

The Smokey Mountain News reported what the Aldermen opposed to the measure said during the meeting.

Alderman Janine Crisp, one of the three Alderman who was against the Sunday Brunch Bill said that “[i]n speaking to people in the community…she just couldn’t support a measure that offends the community’s Christian values.”

“When I make a decision about something like this – I ask myself, ‘does it improve life or the well-being of everyone,’ I can’t say that in this instance,” Crisp reportedly said.

“Alderman Rick Bryson… said he too had a problem with the ordinance extending alcohol sales on Sundays because it didn’t fit within Bryson City’s community standards.”

Bryson added, “I’m astonished the so-called conservative legislature in Raleigh passed this bill at all. I have a problem with alcohol being served when kids are in Sunday School – I think it’s inappropriate.”

Alderman Jim Gribble reportedly ran a non-scientific survey in the community and said, “72 percent” of constituents said “they were opposed to passing the brunch bill locally.”

Only one Alderman, Heidi Woodard-Ramsey supported the measure saying it was good for tourism, and “allowing earlier sales would not only bolster local businesses and make tourists happy, it would mean additional income for the town’s large number of service industry employees who rely on tips.”

(Indented section is content taken from SMN)

The Smokey Mountain News also reported some of the remarks made by citizens at the end of the meeting.

Business owners reportedly were upset at the decision.

Nevertheless, people like Pastor Patrick Breedlove “thanked the town board for looking at the social impact as well as the economic benefits of passing the measure.”

(Indented section is content taken from SMN)

Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, sent an email addressed to town Mayor Tom Sutton, as well as each of the town’s Aldermen. The email, which was sent September 11th, two days before the Board took up the Brunch Ordinance, urged them to say no to the proposal.

Dr. Creech said he admired the courage and wisdom of the Alderman in rejecting a Brunch Bill.

Citing a study, titled, Effectiveness of Policies Restricting Hours of Alcohol Sales in Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Related Harms, Dr. Creech said that a team of researchers reviewed several studies to assess the effects of increasing hours of sale at on-premises settings (where consumption occurs at the place of purchase) in high-income nations.

“According to the study’s findings,” said Dr. Creech, “there was sufficient evidence in ten qualifying studies to conclude that increasing hours of sale by 2 or more hours does increase alcohol related harms. Therefore, disallowing extension of hours of alcohol sales by 2 hours or more should be expected to prevent alcohol related problems.”

“And for those who believe that these kinds of policies are essentially of no-effect in diminishing religious influence, they are just wrong,” argued Dr. Creech.  “There are other studies now showing that the repeal of blue laws does cause church offerings and church attendance to suffer.”

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The Christian Action League urges concerned Citizen Christians across the Tar Heel State to not allow a Sunday Brunch proposal to be considered by their local governing officials without resistance. The CAL provides the No Sunday Brunch Ordinance Toolkit to assist citizens and public officials in making a solid case against Sunday Brunch Bill initiatives.

To access The No Sunday Brunch Bill Toolkit, CLICK HERE