Law Would Let All ABC Stores Open Sunday

By Alex Morton
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The General Assembly has passed a bill expanding the number of ABC stores that can open on Sundays.

Currently, state-owned liquor stores can operate on Sundays only in urban areas, such as cities with more than 100,000 residents. House Bill 896, sponsored by Delegate David Albo, R-Springfield, would allow the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to open any of its stores after 1 p.m. on Sundays.

“This would allow us to look at all ABC stores in Virginia, determine which ones are the most profitable, and open those stores up,” Albo said.

The Senate passed HB 896 Thursday on a 25-15 vote. The House had previously approved the measure, 69-29. The bill now goes to Gov. Bob McDonnell for his consideration.

ABC currently operates 131 retail stores on Sunday, according to an analysis of the bill by the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget.

“This legislation impacts 195 retail stores that could potentially be opened on Sunday,” the analysis said.

It noted that ABC began Sunday operations at some stores in 2004. Last year, Sunday sales at ABC stores totaled $21 million.

In the 2011 annual report of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, ABC Board Chairman J. Neal Insley said that “Sunday store sales are up 9.6 percent or $1.8 million when compared to last year.”

Curtis Coleburn, the ABC department’s chief operating officer, has projected that Sunday ABC sales could “add $5 million in profits and taxes.” (The Virginia Department of Planning and Budget offered a lower estimate of $2.5 million.) The money goes into the state budget.

Many stores in Northern Virginia, Central Virginia and Hampton Roads already have Sunday hours. The bill would mean that local stores could expand their hours as well.

Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Salon, tried to amend HB 896. He said that before opening an ABC store on Sundays, the ABC Board should be required to get the approval of the local government where the store is located.

At first, senators approved Hanger’s proposal. Then they reconsidered and voted 13-27 against the idea.


  1. Roscoe Evans says:

    Uh oh. A potential political hot potato for Governor Bob. What will he do? Support the drinkers, who also are likely to be Democrats and fornicators, but who will pay more in taxes just to be able to drink on Sundays? Or support the religious establishment, whose church-going members might be tempted to skip out of Sunday services, if something stronger than wine is offered down the street?

    Governor Bob has to play this one smart. He’s only got two strikes left before he strikes out in the Great Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Free-Swinging Marathon. He’s already taken a hard curve, low and inside, on the transvaginal ultrasound pitch. If he misses on two more swings, he’s out.

    I’m not a political type, but if I were Governor Bob, I’d ignore every pitch that Delegate Albo throws, from now until the end of the legislative session. That guy could not even get his wife to sign up for a celebratory conjugal tryst while the ultrasound legislation was under consideration. Governor Bob shouldn’t be snookered by a guy who cannot even control his own wife. She probably votes Democrat.

  2. Hey, our reps could be emulating the ones across the border in Maryland and passing gay “marriage”. I think I’d rather them be taking this on.

    And I wonder why Maryland’s lawmakers don’t get made the butt of jokes on SNL and whatever that Comedy Central news” program is called? Hmmmmm.

  3. Roscoe Evans says:

    “Our” reps are working on “issues” that should have been decided 80 years ago. (Liquor sales.)

    “Our” reps also are busying themselves with new and imaginative (but futile) ways of limiting our rights pursuant to absurd Rube Goldberg-like statutes; while Maryland’s reps are educating themselves on the extension of the existing right to marry to a broader segment of the adult citizenry.

    (Butt jokes? About gays? Hmmm.)

  4. Stu Tudegills says:

    Aren’t these the same liquor stores that were to be privatized, according to McDonnell’s campaign, to the tune of half a billion dollars? Chirp……..chirp……….chirp.