Wet County Ballot Initiative Sprouts Up in Saline, Craighead Counties

by Lee Hogan  on Monday, May. 5, 2014 4:26 pm  

“The Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants represents retailers that do business in these three counties, and a number of them are keenly interested in being able to better serve their customers by providing alcohol products to citizens who would prefer to purchase those products in their home counties versus having to go elsewhere,” Polly Martin, president of the Arkansas Grocers & Retail Merchants, said in the release. “We are committed to helping ensure voters have the opportunity to be heard on this issue.”

Columbia County Drive

A petition drive was also launched in Columbia County in January in an effor to vote on the county's status as wet or dry in the Novembe general election.

The drive was launched by Vote for Growth in Columbia County, which needs 6,300 signatures from registered voters to have the issue make its way to the ballot.

David Nelson, chairman of the group, told the Magnolia Reporter in January that if enough signatures are secured, the ballot proposal would read, "are you for or against the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors?" 

If the initiative makes its way to the ballot, and passes, it would not give restaurants the authority to sell liquor by the glass. City councils in the county would have to authorize special elections before that could be possible, according to the Magnolia Reporter. Columbia County's population would only allow about six liquor stores.

Wet or Dry State

David Couch is also working on a separate wet-dry county initiative to add an amendment to the state Constitution, on the November general election, that would make every county in the state wet or dry. To do so, Couch needs 78,000 signatures, with 5 percent of the voters in 15 different counties.

Couch's amendment would authorize "the manufacture, sale, distribution and transportation" of alcoholic beverages, as regulated by the state, in every county. 

Couch has submitted at least amendments to the attorney generals office, and the wording of at least one has been rejected.

 

 

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