Mountain Home voters will see a question on their ballots as to whether the off-premise sale of alcoholic beverages on Sunday should be permitted. https://t.co/aXu5bZY3qz
— The Baxter Bulletin (@BBnewsroom) February 26, 2020
A report today from the Baxter Bulletin on a Sunday alcohol sales election next week in Mountain Home raises again the question: Why not Little Rock?
A 2009 state law not only allowed Sunday sales of alcohol in restaurants, but it also allowed cities to call elections on Sunday package sales. Several cities have done so, including a couple in Baxter County, leading the local chamber of commerce to support a similar provision in Mountain Home for competitive reasons.
Why not in Little Rock’s largest city? Why shouldn’t you be able to pick up a six-pack or a bottle of wine for a Sunday outing or home use? There’s long been some resistance to this in the retail liquor store industry in part because of the cost of an additional day of opening and perhaps the fear that grocery stores, now fully in the wine business and already open on Sunday, might siphon off still more beer and wine business.
Among others, tiny Avoca in Benton County, and Springdale, Tontitown, Wiederkehr Village, Ozark and Eureka Springs have availed themselves of the option.
UPDATE: It’s not firm yet but plans are afoot for a citizen-initiated proposal to put the issue on the Little Rock ballot in November.
Little Rock lawyer David Couch, who’ll be overseeing a canvassing campaign for an amendment to put a non-partisan commission in charge of legislative and congressional redistricting, says those canvassers also may work on a Little Rock Sunday alcohol initiative. The law provides, if a city or county government won’t put the issue on the ballot that the people may do so:
(b) (1) (A) As a further exception to the Sunday sales prohibition set out in subsection (a) of this section, counties and cities in the state may refer to the voters at an election the issue of whether to authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption on Sundays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight or within a lesser period within the hours as may be provided under a referendum election conducted in accordance with the following:
- (i) A referendum election may be called in a city by a petition filed with the city clerk signed by fifteen percent (15%) of the qualified electors who cast a vote in the city for the Office of Governor in the last general election in which the office appeared on the ballot;