Court ruling may make alcohol sales illegal in Priceville
A decision handed down by the Alabama Supreme Court on Friday struck down a 2009 state law that allowed residents of Priceville to approve the sale of alcoholic beverages.
The court ruled in Glenn Bynum and Larry Gipson v. City of Oneonta et al. that Act 2009-546, which allows any municipality having a population of 1,000 or more (excluding Clay, Randolph and Blount Counties) to have a municipal option election on alcohol sales, was unconstitutional. The Alabama Legislature would then have to redraft a constitutionally sound law.
“I don’t have a clue what this means,” said Mayor Melvin Duran. “Our people voted for the legal sale of alcoholic beverages in Priceville. That should’ve settled the issue.”
Priceville voters approved the legal sale of alcoholic beverages in November 2012 by a vote of 628 to 597.
“What about our businesses that have been licensed to sell alcoholic beverages and invested in inventory in order to be able to sell them?” Duran said. “I had no idea something like this was in the making until about three weeks ago when I picked it up in an email.”
The court finding, in part reads: “Here, the constitutional issue is one of equal protection, the gravamen of which is the notion that there are two different clauses in the same enactment that treat 3 counties differently from 64 counties without a sufficient cause. For this court to sever the provisions exempting the three counties from the statutes would be to presume that the legislature meant Act No. 2009-546 to be applied to the three counties the legislature specifically excluded.”