JPs approve alcohol opposition

White County leaders say amendment takes away local control By Matt Burks, THE DAILY CITIZEN White County leaders approved a resolution Tuesday which opposes the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment on Nov. 4 general election ballot. The amendment, if approved by state voters, will allow all counties in the state to distribute and sell alcohol. The resolution approved by quorum court members, reads, “the proposed amendment to the Arkansas Constitution is repugnant to Amendment 55 of the Arkansas Constitution and the principles that local communities should have the liberty to decide local affairs, not    persons residing in other communities or regions of the state.” The resolution also says the amendment would create constitutional challenges “to existing common sense laws and ordinances protecting minors — such as prohibitions of the sale, manufacture or distribution of alcohol at or adjacent to schools, churches, nursing homes, hospitals or certain public places.” Justice of the Peace Mike Cleveland, R-Searcy, sponsored the amendment to let county residents make county decisions. “I hope it sends a clear message to citizens that the county opposes anything that takes the local control away,” White County Judge Michael Lincoln said. “It’s not about alcohol or morality issues or even tax revenues, it’s all about local versus state control. If we start this approach of the state deciding county issues, what other local control is next?” Lincoln, however, said this resolution won’t hinder the distribution or sale of alcohol if the amendment passes Nov. 4. Lincoln and Cleveland said this resolution merely shows the county leaders opposition to the amendment. “The resolution will be null and void if the...

Marion County justices say ‘no’ to alcohol amendment

YELLVILLE – The Marion County Quorum Court came out against a proposed amendment to legalize alcohol sales in every Arkansas county. The justices passed a resolution 8-1 Tuesday night opposing the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Initiative. The resolution states that the legislation would take away local governments’ right to regulate alcohol locally. It states the amendment strips Arkansans of their right to decide on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic products locally. It was read to the quorum court by Justice of the Peace Carl W. McBee. Jr. The measure proposes that, effective July 1, 2015, the manufacture, sale, distribution and transportation of intoxicating liquors would be lawful within the entire geographic area of each of Arkansas’ 75 counties. “(It’s) overly broad and will create constitutional challenges to existing common-sense laws and ordinances protecting minors such as prohibition of the sale, manufacture and distribution of alcohol (near) schools, churches, nursing homes, hospitals or public places,” the resolution states. The resolution passed on a vote of 8-1, with quorum court member Mike Scrima abstaining. The primary mover of the initiative is Let Arkansas Decide. According to Public Policy Polling, 52 percent of Arkansans surveyed said they would vote yes on the amendment, 40 percent said they would vote against and 8 percent said they were undecided. The poll was conducted Aug. 1-3 and surveyed 1,066 voters in the state. The initiative will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. Both Marion and Baxter counties permit alcohol sales. Marion County became a wet county in 2006. Baxter County went wet in 1978. Baxter County Bulletin Sept. 10,...

Bad ideas galore – They keep getting on the ballot

My grandmother is over 80 and still doesn’t need glasses. Drinks right out of the bottle. ~ Henny Youngman BRANDY, n., A cordial composed of one part thunder-and-lightning, one part remorse, two parts bloody murder, one part death-and-hell-and-the-grave and four parts clarified Satan. ~ Ambrose Bierce The Devil’s Dictionary It’s not that all the ideas that make it onto the ballot in Arkansas are bad ones. It just seems like it this year. Happily, a couple of proposals about legalizing marijuana aren’t going to be on the ballot this November. Not enough signatures. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Arkansas. Then there is the bunch that wants to make the whole state wet. No, no, Woodruff County, we’re not talking about more rain. We’re talking about booze–a commodity near and dear to many a newspaperman’s heart. It’s said that, back in the day, many an editor kept a bottle in the lower right-hand drawer of his desk–if only he could find it. The drawer, we mean. And what would any confab of journalists be without an open bar to relieve the ennui of evening sessions? Answer: It would be even more boring than a confab of journalists. (We believe the collective noun for such a gathering is a clatter, as in a clatter of editorial writers.) So on first blush, and second, and third, you would think a proposal to allow the sale of booze–excuse us, alcoholic beverages–anywhere in this good old populist/puritan Arkansas would be one that all good and true editorial writers could drink to. Except . . . . If the voters in County X choose to ban the...

Legal Challenge to Ballot Proposal on Alcohol Sales FIled

Citizens for Local Rights, a ballot question committee formed to oppose a proposed constitutional amendment that would make all 75 Arkansas counties wet, filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court on Friday. The suit alleges that the group sponsoring the measure, Let Arkansas Decide, missed a deadline for submitting signatures and that the ballot language does not adequately explain the measure to voters. … The plaintiffs also allege that the measure’s ballot language fails to inform voters that it would do away with a state regulation that liquor stores not be located within 1,000 feet of a church or school and that it would take away communities’ right to hold referendum elections on whether to allow the sale of mixed drinks. “The right to a referendum election on mixed drinks is material to the voters, and it would give them serious ground for reflection to know that this right will be taken away from them if the amendment is adopted,” the suit states. Read the entire article at Arkansas...

Log Cabin Democrat Editorial: Statewide vote for ‘wet’ counties is wrong

Although it may seem to be a simple question — do we want easier access to alcohol in our city and county — there are other issues to consider, and this latest development can actually create a situation where those who have nothing to do with Faulkner County can tell us how our community will be from here on out. If a ballot initiative does make it to the state voters in a few months, then those people in Little Rock and Fayetteville will decide whether we will begin to house liquor stores on our blocks and makeshift beer and wine aisles in our grocery stores. While we have nothing personally against these images — we have certainly progressed passed the days of prohibition and bootlegging — it says something that the ability to create parts of our community the way we see fit could be taken away from us. Read the entire editorial at the Log Cabin Democrat...