This is news from Family Council in Little Rock. Today, we turn our attention to El Dorado, where the City Council has been discussing an ongoing issue in its downtown entertainment district.
During its July meeting, El Dorado’s City Council tackled the topic of rowdiness in the city’s public drinking district, as reported by the El Dorado News Times. This district was established under Act 812 of 2019, which allows cities to create “quote unquote “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks. Such districts can be either permanent or temporary under this law.
Two years later, Act 874 of 2021 expanded the legislation to permit cities in dry counties to approve public drinking if they have a private club serving alcohol within the city limits. And most recently, Act 34 was passed, granting cities and towns without advertising and promotion taxes on hotels and restaurants the ability to establish their own entertainment districts with legal public drinking.
However, these legislative changes have not been without controversy. Family Council has strongly opposed each of these laws, citing concerns over the harm that public drinking can cause to communities.
In El Dorado, the City Council had previously authorized public drinking within a nine block entertainment district downtown. But recently, Council Member Frank Hash pointed out that the district has been experiencing recurring issues with disorderly and unruly behavior, especially during weekends.
According to a recent article in the El Dorado News Times, law enforcement has faced challenges in policing the area, and litter and disruptive behavior have become associated problems.
Proponents of public drinking districts argue that they can boost local economies and tourism, but Family Council’s opposition to these laws emphasizes the serious concerns surrounding public safety and the potential for drunk driving incidents. Public drinking doesn’t attract new businesses or revitalize Main Street, but rather it negatively affects neighborhoods and families.
As the debate over public drinking continues, communities like El Dorado are grappling with the consequences of implementing entertainment districts. The impact on public safety, local businesses, and neighborhood dynamics remains at the forefront of discussions for both citizens and lawmakers.
That concludes our news report for today. Thank you for joining us. If you liked this news report, be sure to check out our website at FamilyCouncil.org. Thanks for listening!