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, 2014

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