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boozeThe Arkansas Supreme Court has now spoken:  the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Initiative (Issue #4) will appear on the November 4 ballot.

Not only is this another highly contested issue that many feel should have been settled county-by-county, but as more details emerge there’s even more to think about:  The measure will apparently remove local zoning that prohibits alcohol sales near schools, day cares, and churches.  Current rules governing the number of package stores per population are also repealed.

Even the University of Arkansas Public Policy Center says,

It is not known how the amendment would affect existing regulations.

Current state law allows one liquor store per 5,000 people in a county.  A liquor store, which sells all types of alcohol, cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a church or school building.  There is no distance requirement or limit on stores selling only beer and small farm wine.

Cities and counties do have the ability to limit store hours and pass zoning laws that could affect where in a city or county alcohol is sold.

We hope the current Supreme Court signature challenge blocks this issue from the ballot, but we will vote NO if it remains.  Why should local voters have absolutely no control over this kind of sweeping change in their communities?