FORT SMITH (KFSM) - Voters will be deciding on several big issues Tuesday (Nov.4) including the initiative for statewide liquor. If passed, it would mean all counties in Arkansas will be allowed to sell alcohol.
People will be going to the polls to either vote for or against the statewide alcohol initiative.
"I voted against this amendment," said Meredith Maurer, Manager of Chaffee Crossing Wine and Spirits. The issue on the ballot is making the sale of alcohol legal in every county.
"I'm for it a hundred percent, " said City Director of Barling Bruce Farrar. Issue number four on the ballot would change the Arkansas Constitution to make the sale, manufacture, distribuation, and transportation of alcohol legal statewide.
"If a county is wet a city can vote to go dry, if your dry you can't vote wet,"said Farrar. "And that's a two headed coin in my opinion, that's not quite correct."
37 Arkansas counties are dry and do not allow retail alcohol sales. 38 counties are wet.
Local liquor store owners said this amendment passes, it could put them out of business. "We have a lot of people that commute into Fort Smith and they shop convenience," said Maurer.
Supporters said allowing sales in dry counties would bring jobs and more revenue for the cities and counties. "Yes it will being jobs,"according to Farrar. "We will have restaurants come in and nice eating places."
Opponents said approval would take away the local community's ability to decide the alcohol issue for themselves. According to Maurer, "It's important that you still support your local businesses and local stores because it will have an impact to a small business."
Opponents also said if this is passed, it would allow liquor sales within a 1,000 feet of a school or church. "People will lose that right of being able to regulate whether a liquor store can be in close proxmity to a school or a church," said Maurer.
But according to the state law, even with passage, alcohol sales wouldn't be allowed within a 1,000 feet of a church or a school. "That's an ABC law that says a 1,000 feet, that won't change," said Farrar.
David Couch is at the head of the group Let Arkansas Decide, which is behind the measure for statewide alcohol sales. Couch said the intiative would bring in more than a hundred million dollars a year in economic development, if passed.