Reports Shed Light on Backers of Wet, Dry Groups in Arkansas

by Lee Hogan  on Thursday, Jun. 19, 2014 4:12 pm  

An opposition group, Keep Independence Dry and Safe, has formed in opposition of the ballot initiative. The group appears to be a grassroots campaign with much of its contributions coming from individual residents and several churches in the area. 

As of May 31, the group had more than $6,100 in cash on hand, and had spent more than $3,000 in ads, signs and billboards.

Statewide Amendment

While several local initiatives are underway across the state, there is a possibility of a proposed constitutional amendment being on the November ballot that, if approved by voters, would make alcohol sales legal in all Arkansas counties.

The text and title of the proposed constitutional amendment, The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment, was penned by Little Rock attorney David Couch and approved by Attorney General Dustin McDaniel last month. 

To make its way to the ballot, the amendment needs the signatures of 78,133 registers voters by the July 7 deadline, with at least 5 percent of the voters in 15 different counties.. 

Couch told Arkansas Business on Thursday he has enlisted the help of National Ballot Access to conduct petition drives in Faulkner, Craighead and Saline counties. He said he has also partnered with initiatives in Jacksonville, and Independence and Columbia counties.

As of now, Couch said the proposed amendment has gained more than 20,000 signatures and has met minimum qualifications in 10 of 15 counties.

A ballot initiative committee, Let Arkansas Decide, was formed in support of the proposed amendment June 11, according to Arkansas Ethics Commission records. Couch is listed as the committee's attorney and treasure. No financial reports have been filed with the ethics commission, as of Thursday, but Couch said contributions are coming in.

If the amendment is approved, alcohol sales would be legal in all Arkansas counties, and all laws that allowed counties to hold individual wet-dry votes would be repealed.



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