Fort Smith City Directors to Review Public Drinking Proposal

The Fort Smith Board of Directors will study a proposed ordinance that would let the city authorize public drinking during special events at its study session meeting on Tuesday, March 10.

Act 812 of 2019 by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks.

These districts can be permanent or temporary, under Act 812.

The proposed ordinance in Forth Smith would create two semi-permanent public drinking districts in town.

The districts would ordinarily be inactive, but they could be activated during special events with approval from city officials — meaning public drinking could be authorized during festivals and other events in Fort Smith.

As we have said time and again, public drinking is a scourge on the community.

It raises serious concerns about drunk driving and public safety.

Public drinking doesn’t attract new businesses or bolster the economy.

It hurts neighborhoods and families.

That’s why Family Council has put together a free toolkit to help citizens oppose these public drinking districts.

Our toolkit contains talking points, information about problems public drinking has caused in other states, photographs of public drinking districts elsewhere around the country, and other resources you can use to fight public drinking in your community.

Click here to download our free toolkit.

Paragould City Council Weighs Public Drinking Ordinance

This week the Paragould City Council took up a proposal to legalize public drinking in certain parts of the city’s downtown.

Act 812 of 2019 by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks.

The legislation barely passed the Arkansas Legislature last spring, and it took effect this past summer.

Paragould’s public drinking proposal would let people purchase alcohol to-go in 16-ounce cups from bars and restaurants in the entertainment district.

People would be able to drink publicly in the district from 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM every Thursday through Saturday.

The Paragould City Council will consider the ordinance again at its next meeting in November.

The news comes as Camden considers a similar ordinance and Fayetteville’s city council opts to put its proposed public drinking district on hold indefinitely.

Family Council has put together a free toolkit to help citizens oppose public drinking ordinances like Paragould’s.

Our toolkit contains talking points, information about problems public drinking has caused in other states, photographs of public drinking districts elsewhere around the country, and other resources you can use to fight public drinking in your community.

Click here to download our free toolkit.

Fayetteville City Council Tables Public Drinking Ordinance Indefinitely

This week the Fayetteville City Council opted to table a proposed public drinking ordinance indefinitely.

Act 812 of 2019 by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks.

Act 812 narrowly passed the Arkansas Legislature last spring, and it took effect this past summer.

So far Little Rock, Mountain Home, Sherwood, Texarkana, and El Dorado have opted to legalize public drinking in their cities’ so-called “entertainment districts.”

The Fayetteville City Council says it will study the issue and discuss it with local businesses and residents before deciding if and when to take the issue back up again.

This is very good news, but it comes as city councils in Paragould and Camden weigh public drinking ordinances of their own.

Public drinking is a scourge on the community.

It raises serious concerns about drunk driving and public safety.

Public drinking won’t attract new businesses, bolster the economy, or revitalize Main Street. It hurts neighborhoods and families.

That’s why Family Council has put together a free toolkit to help citizens oppose these public drinking ordinances.

Our toolkit contains talking points, information about problems public drinking has caused in other states, photographs of public drinking districts elsewhere around the country, and other resources you can use to fight public drinking in your community.

Click here to download our free toolkit.

Photo Credit: “Old Main from the northwest, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas (autumn)” by Brandonrush – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.