Bill Would Expand Public Drinking in Arkansas

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.

Arkansas Lottery Scholarship Funding Remains Dismal Despite Best December on Record

Scholarship funding at the Arkansas Lottery has remained dismal despite the fact that the Lottery had what appears to be its best December on record.

Reports recently released by the state’s Lottery Office show the Arkansas Lottery took in more than $50.3 million last month, but paid about $5.9 million to college scholarships — about 12 cents out of every dollar the Lottery earned.

Overall, less than 17% of the Lottery’s revenue has gone to scholarships this year while 70% has gone to prizes.

For perspective, the typical state-run lottery spends about 30% of its revenue on education and about 60% on prizes.

Below is a breakdown of lottery revenue and scholarship spending so far this fiscal year.

MonthGross Lottery RevenuePaid to Scholarships% Gross Revenue