On Thursday Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) filed H.B. 1228. The bill effectively makes it possible for many cities in dry counties to approve public drinking in “entertainment districts.”
Currently, cities and towns in wet counties can approve public drinking in commercial neighborhoods where bars and restaurants are located.
Under H.B. 1228, city councils could permit public drinking in neighborhoods where private clubs are located.
Arkansas law lets private clubs serve alcohol — even if the private club is located in a dry county.
H.B. 1228 also changes state law regarding where the city has to be located in order to authorize public drinking. If there are entities in the county that are authorized to sell alcohol — like private clubs — then H.B. 1228 says the city council can permit public drinking.
Taken together, these two changes to the law likely would let cities in dry counties permit public drinking districts around private clubs.
Family Council has opposed public drinking for years, because it raises serious concerns about public safety.
Public drinking doesn’t attract new businesses or bolster the economy.
It hurts neighborhoods and families.
Arkansans ought to stay away from any proposal that would expand public drinking in their communities.