On Wednesday the House Rules Committee passed a bill that could expand public drinking in “entertainment districts” across Arkansas.

H.B. 1024 by Rep. David Ray (R – Maumelle) and Sen. Matt McKee (R – Dist. 6) eliminates the provision in Arkansas law that restricts public drinking to cities and towns that collect advertising and promotion taxes on hotels, restaurants, and similar businesses.

The tax provision in current law helps make sure that communities establish “entertainment districts” in areas where the hospitality and tourism industry is present.

Under this bill, communities could authorize public drinking in entertainment districts even if the community does not cater toward hospitality and tourism.

That has the potential to expand public drinking across the state.

H.B. 1024 now goes to the entire Arkansas House of Representatives for consideration.