City of Barling to Permit Public Drinking District

The City of Barling in Sebastian County plans to create a public drinking district, according to KSFM-TV news.

Act 812 of 2019 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.

Act 874 of 2021 by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) expanded the law to let cities in dry counties approve public drinking as well if the city contains a private club that serves alcohol.

According to the Department of Finance and Administration’s website, Sebastian County is a dry county, with the exception of Fort Smith. Barling — which is part of the Fort Smith metro area — contains private clubs that are authorized to sell alcohol, and the public drinking district apparently will be located adjacent to them.

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

It doesn’t attract new businesses or bolster the economy.

Public drinking raises serious concerns about drunk driving and public safety.

It hurts neighborhoods and families.

Arkansans ought to stay away from any proposal that would legalize public drinking in their communities.

Rogers City Council Approves Public Drinking Ordinance

On Tuesday the Rogers City Council approved an ordinance permitting public drinking in an “entertainment district” roughly ten city blocks in size, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

The public drinking ordinance reportedly was approved by a vote of seven to one.

Arkansas law lets cities and towns approve public drinking in commercial neighborhoods where bars and restaurants are located.

As we have said time and time 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.

Arkansans ought to stay away from any proposal that would legalize public drinking in their communities.

Arkansas Senate Passes Bad Bill Permitting Public Drinking in Dry Counties

On Tuesday the Arkansas Senate narrowly passed H.B. 1228 by a vote of 18 to 14.

This bad bill by Rep. Lee Johnson (R – Greenwood) and Sen. Breanne Davis (R – Russellville) lets cities in dry counties approve public drinking in “entertainment districts” adjacent to private clubs that sell alcohol.

The Senate previously rejected H.B. 1228 on March 17. However, on Tuesday the bill passed despite having been soundly rejected just a few weeks ago.

Currently, cities and towns in wet counties can approve public drinking in entertainment districts.

H.B. 1228 expands Arkansas’ alcohol laws to let people carry and consume alcohol on city streets and sidewalks in entertainment districts in dry counties.

Does anyone really think that voters imagined there would be public drinking in their communities when they voted to make their county dry?

And yet that’s what will happen in some dry counties under H.B. 1228.

Below is a breakdown of Tuesday’s senate vote on H.B. 1228, the bill expanding public drinking to dry counties in Arkansas.

Voted FOR H.B. 1228

  • B. Ballinger
  • L. Chesterfield
  • B. Davis
  • J. Dismang
  • L. Eads
  • Elliott
  • J. English
  • Flippo
  • S. Flowers
  • T. Garner
  • J. Hendren
  • Hester
  • K. Ingram
  • G. Leding
  • M. Pitsch
  • B. Sample
  • D. Sullivan
  • C. Tucker

Voted AGAINST H.B. 1228

  • Beckham
  • Bledsoe
  • A. Clark
  • Gilmore
  • K. Hammer
  • Hickey
  • Hill
  • M. Johnson
  • B. Johnson
  • Rapert
  • Rice
  • G. Stubblefield
  • J. Sturch
  • Teague

Excused From Voting

  • D. Wallace

Did Not Vote

  • Caldwell
  • Irvin

The Following Senators Voted AGAINST H.B. 1228 When It Failed On March 17, But Voted FOR H.B. 1228 When It Passed On April 20

  • B. Ballinger
  • J. Dismang
  • Flippo
  • Hester
  • D. Sullivan