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Earlier Sunday sales of beer and wine dead in W.Va. House of Delegates

Current state law now only allows alcohol sales on Sunday to begin after 1 p.m.

April 04, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A bill that would allow Sunday sales of beer and wine to begin at 10 a.m. died Wednesday in the House of Delegates, according to the legislation’s lead sponsor.

Wednesday was the deadline for bills that originated in the House and Senate to pass out of their respective chambers.

“I’m very sorry about it,” Del. Stephen Skinner, D-Jefferson, said of House Bill 2946. “I’m not going to stop fighting for it.”

Current state law now only allows alcohol sales on Sunday to begin after 1 p.m.

Advocates of the legislation included the owners of the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, W.Va., where patrons cannot order a glass of champagne or other alcoholic beverage with their Sunday brunch until the dining part is more than halfway through.

Skinner said he was told that the change in time for Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages would have generated an additional $40,000 to $60,000 in revenue annually for the Bavarian Inn. One of the inn’s owners confirmed that estimate this week and noted the legislation was very important to Jefferson County’s tourism industry as a whole.

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Wednesday’s removal of House Bill 2946 from the Special Calendar and placement on what is known as the House Calendar very well could have signaled that House leaders did not believe the legislation had enough support from lawmakers to pass, Skinner said.

The bill was on its third reading Wednesday and on track for a floor vote when the calendar move was made, according to the Legislature’s website. Proposed amendments to the bill also were pending, but Skinner said no debate was held on the bill.

Del. Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, was among five lawmakers across the state who joined Skinner in sponsoring the bill that originally was introduced.

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