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    Hearing Set On S.C. Sunday Beer Sales

    Blue law could be lifted for convenience and grocery stores.

    GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A panel of judges will hear arguments in February on whether to allow convenience stores and supermarkets to sell beer and wine on Sundays, reported The Greenville (S.C.) News.

    The petitioners -- Piedmont Petroleum Co., Publix Super Markets Inc., The Pantry Inc., Bi-Lo, LLC and Wal-Mart Stores East and Sam's East Inc. -- will have 15 minutes each to state their case, according to the court order and the city will get 15 minutes to reply, the report stated.

    Piedmont Petroleum Co. applied for permits in June that would allow Sunday beer and wine sales at its five Citgo and Texaco stations. The request came after the state revenue department stated that Sunday alcohol referendums passed since 1993 also allow for beer and wine to be sold in grocery and convenience stores, according to the report.

    County voters shot down Sunday alcohol sales in December 1999, but city voters passed it the following June.

    Proponents of allowing stores to sell alcohol say the blue law is inconvenient to drinkers and unfair to retailers. Opponents contend that any loosening of drinking laws will bring social ills that harm families, according to the report.

    The hearing will take place on Feb. 9 in Columbia, S.C., according to the court order. It is not likely the panel would make a decision that day, the report stated.

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