Local Option Bill Basics

Basic Facts About the Local Option Bill Proposal

There is no current provision in Arkansas law allowing certain counties and cities, in which the sale of alcoholic beverages have been prohibited, to decide by local referendum whether the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants, hotels and large attendance facilities should be authorized.

What the bill will do if passed:

  • The bill would give certain local communities, at the county or city level, a local option, by popular vote, to decide the issue of whether or not restaurants, hotels and convention centers should be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages. The way the bill is written, it only applies to the counties of Faulkner and Craighead and to the cities of Conway and Jonesboro.
    • Legislation would provide for three ways the issue could be put on the ballot:

      1) By petition – Not less than 38% of the qualified electors would need to sign the petition (would allow for a county or city vote)**

      2) By majority vote of the Quorum Court (would allow for a county-wide vote only)

      3) By majority vote of the City Council (would allow for a city-wide vote only)

**This provision is currently the only way a vote could be called on the issue.
  • The legislation only addresses "on premise consumption" of alcoholic beverages, otherwise known as liquor by the drink sales.
  • Legislation does not directly authorize or condone the sale of liquor.
  • Legislation does not allow for sales from package stores, or sales from grocery stores and/or gas stations, in "dry" counties or cities.
  • Passage of legislation does change the status regarding liquor by the drink sales anywhere in Arkansas. Voters in the local community, by majority vote, would still have to pass the initiative by local option election before sales would take place.