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State preparing in case liquor sales get approved | News

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State preparing in case liquor sales get approved
News, Politics
State preparing in case liquor sales get approved


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - One of 3 questions voters might see on the November ballot this year could make alcohol sales legal in all 75 Arkansas counties.

Even if voters approve that measure, there will still be lots of work to do at state and local levels to implement the plan.

Arkansas Business Online Editor Lance Turner says officials are already making plans.

Michael Langley, the director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division, tells Arkansas Business that he's already been thinking through the possible new law.

If voters do approve the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment he's got a plan of action on tap to implement the law, which would go into effect on July 1.

First, the ABC would hold a series of meetings with various stakeholders about the specifics of the law. Those meetings would include sit-downs with liquor retailers and wholesalers -- as well as legislators and the governor's staff.

Using feedback from the those meetings, the ABC would then help craft a legislative package to be considered in the upcoming January session.

Langley says he expects lawmakers to weigh in on many aspects of the law's implementation.

Lawmakers would likely revamp laws dealing with how far a liquor retailers can be from a church or school, and they'll likely reduce the number of package stores that can be in a county.

This is because there wouldn't be any more dry counties to push business into wet counties.

Langley also knows that voting Arkansas wet won't mean that suddenly anything goes in terms of liquor sales.

Representatives from the ABC will also visit newly wet communities to explain their local control options. Those options could include zoning changes to further regulate the sale of alcohol.

For example, a city might restrict the hours of the day when alcohol could be sold.

Of course, all this could be unnecessary if the amendment loses on Nov. 4.

It still faces a court challenge as well, with opponents suing to get the proposal kicked off the November ballot.

The state supreme court hears that case in the next 2 weeks.

For the full story from Arkansas Business, click here.


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