Bill seeks to loosen liquor laws

Published: Monday, April 29, 2013 at 09:51 AM.

The Legislature’s response was to water down the process. Under current state law, to get an initial election on the sale of alcohol in a county, an application must be presented to the county commission with 25 percent of registered voters’ signatures.

If that initial election allows alcohol to be sold only in package stores, then the county residents must again round up 25 percent of voters’ signatures to put it back on the ballot for “by the drink” sales in restaurants. That’s the issue in Jackson County.

The recently passed bill would require only one-tenth of voters’ signatures, or a majority vote by the county commission.

That would put the issue on the ballot to legalize “by the drink” sales of beer, wine and liquor containing more than 6.243 percent alcohol by volume.


 Present situation

Jackson County Commissioner Willie Spires said about five of the 11 municipalities allow restaurants to serve beer. He said some businesses just outside the city limits feel it’s unfair because their competition can serve alcohol while they can’t.

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