Raleigh, N.C. — Members of the state Senate approved a pair of bills Thursday that have provoked discussion as they moved through committees this week.
Senators voted 40-8 to give tentative approval to a House Bill 909, a measure that makes changes to a number of North Carolina alcohol laws. Many of the provisions, including a ban on powdered alcohol and allowing for the sale of antique liquors, were not controversial.
There was no debate on the measure Thursday, but local Alcoholic Beverage Control boards, which run liquor stores, have objected to a provision that would allow distilleries to sell bottles of their products to those who take a tour of their plant. Although such sales would be limited to one bottle per person per year, local liquor authorities say the provision undercuts the state's current sales system. Distilleries say it will both help their bottom line and spur sales of North Carolina products in stores.
Because of a procedural objection, senators must vote a final time next week before returning the bill to the House.
Senators voted 34-13 to approve a bill that would expand the types of legal hunting on Sundays.
House Bill 640, the Outdoor Heritage Act, includes a number of provisions designed to foster interest in outdoor activities. But debate over the measure has focused on a section that would allow people to hunt with rifles and shotguns after noon on Sundays.
Opponents of the bill objected on the grounds that it would undercut the tradition of setting aside Sunday for church and family.
"I believe in honoring the Sabbath," said Erica Smith-Ingram, D-Northampton, who asked her colleagues to give counties the choice of whether to opt into the law. Currently ,the bill excludes Wake and Mecklenburg counties from the expansion of Sunday hunting.
Other lawmakers pointed out that a wide range of activities, from golfing to attending sporting events, are available on Sundays.
"You cannot tie this bill to your religious belief," said Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson. "We fool ourselves folks. We do everything else we decide we want to do on Sunday."
The bill now returns to the House for that body's sign-off before it heads to the governor.