House passes bill making exception to open container law

The House voted to allow restaurant goers to take home the remains of a bottle of wine without violating the state's open container law.

Senate Bill 55 would allow restaurants to reseal a bottle of wine, place it in a sealed bag and let the diner leave with it. The bottle would have to be placed in the car's trunk, cargo area or glove compartment, in order to stay within the law.

Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, said that the bill would help those who had bought a bottle of wine to avoid a choice between wasting it, or finishing it at the risk of driving drunk.

The temptation to finish a bottle of wine is particularly great if it's an expensive vintage, said Peake, who owns several Cheddar's casual dining restaurants.

"If you're like most folks, and particularly those of us in the General Assembly, you're going to drink that sucker," Peake said jokingly from the House well.

The House passed the bill 125-34, sending it to the governor. Gov. Sonny Perdue vetoed a similar bill in 2004, saying it violated the open container law. Peake said the current bill was written to avoid that problem.