A bill to give the Weaver City Council power to approve Sunday alcohol sales and a related bill annexing two businesses into the city’s limits were signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley on Wednesday and were in the process of being transmitted to the Secretary of State’s office on Friday, according to Jeremy King, the communications director for the governor’s office.
“This is great news, and I’m really excited,” said Weaver Mayor Wayne Willis. “Weaver has not had any retail or business growth in many years. I think with this bill the city of Weaver is really moving forward.”
The Sunday sales bill appeared all but dead late Monday, but passed through the House minutes before the 2013 legislative session ended. With the governor’s signature, only a council vote stands in the way of businesses selling alcohol on Sundays.
Currently, just one location sells alcohol within the city limits, but the annexation bill will incorporate two spots on Alabama 21 that sell alcohol – Heroes restaurant and Smokin’ Joes Tobacco and Beverage – into Weaver.
“My regular customers have been following this really closely,” said Marc Spaulding, the owner of Heroes. “When they heard it passed Monday, they were even more excited.”
Spaulding said he hoped to be open on Sunday in time for Father’s Day, but the annexation bill takes effect the first day of the third month after the governor signed the legislation into law. That would be Aug. 1, King said.
Willis said he was not aware of the three-month clause in the annexation bill. Weaver’s attorney, Doug Mooneyham, who helped write the legislation, said he didn’t have access to a copy of the bill and couldn’t discuss it on Friday.
After passing Monday, there were still concerns over whether the governor would sign the bills into law. Anniston’s similar Sunday alcohol bill, also introduced by Marsh, was given an executive amendment to make sure municipal officials couldn’t override the Alabama Beverage Control Board’s authority on alcohol issues. King said that wasn’t an issue with the Weaver bill.
“With the Anniston bill, there was an executive amendment to clarify that the ABC board had authority over the local municipality,” King said. “With the Weaver bill, that language we were concerned with wasn’t there, so the bill was signed as is.”
The Weaver City Council is scheduled to meet Tuesday, but Willis said that he will be out of town, and Councilman Tim McRae will also be unable to attend. A vote on Sunday sales is likely to take place at the council’s first meeting in June, Willis said.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.