Where the initiative to allow statewide alcohol sales stands now

PERRY COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) - Supporters of the initiative to allow statewide alcohol sales have 30 more days to collect enough signatures to win a spot on the November ballot. The Secretary of State's office has reviewed a petition submitted by a group calling themselves "Let Arkansas Decide."

For the past six weeks, this group has been working to allow Arkansans the chance to decide whether alcohol should or should not be sold in every county in the state of Arkansas.

"It is good to be out," said Suzanna Osburn.

To Suzanna Osburn a Friday night out is dinner with friends and a glass of water.

"I was raised in a home where we did not have alcohol," said Osburn.

Osburn says she has never had a sip of alcohol.

"And I have a lot of fun without it," said Osburn.

Osburn and her husband live in Perry County, which is one of the 37 counties that ban alcohol sales in Arkansas. She says she hopes it stays that way.

"There is already an alcohol problem with young people out here in Perry County, and I think having more sales out here will just encourage them," said Osburn.

Osburn also says she thinks it should continue to be up to the city or county. On the other hand, attorney David Couch says, "Let Arkansas Decide."

"Independence County is in the state of Arkansas," said Couch. "If you turn Arkansas wet, we are wet."

"Let Arkansas Decide" is the organization collecting signatures to legalize alcohol sales statewide. They collected about 85,000 signatures in three weeks. Some of those signatures were thrown out. Now, they have 30 days to collect about 17,000 signatures to win a spot on the November ballot.

"We have probably around 15,000 valid signatures already so we are getting really close to having the minimum number that we need to get it on the ballot," said Couch.

Couch says it is not just a wet dry issue. It is an economic development issue.

"If they are able to serve alcoholic beverages then you will have restaurants there," said Couch. "And then people will come. And then you will build hotels. And then you will build condominiums."

Couch says the biggest opposition they have is the county-line liquor stores.

"The next liquor store is about 20 miles that way and 20 miles that way," said Maumelle Creek Liquor Store Clerk Alex George.

Maumelle Creek Liquor store is near the Perry County line. Store Clerk Alex George did not say whether they were for or against statewide alcohol sales. But a chunk of their customers live in dry counties.

"We are in a pretty good spot for business," said George.

And it is this type of business, Suzanna Osburn does not want to see in her county.

"I do not want it here," said Osburn.

"Let Arkansas Decide" needs to collect at least 78,133 signatures. The Secretary of State will have until August 21, 2014 to certify ballot issues for the November general election.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment