Jonesboro city council amends alcohol ordinance

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro city council is meeting tonight and one of the key issues on the agenda is to discuss an amendment to the existing alcohol permit violation ordinance.

The current ordinance allows the public safety committee of the city council to sanction the punishment of businesses that violate regulations of the state Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board.  Under the current ordinance, violators must make their violation appeals to the entire city council.

If the new ordinance is amended, violators would appeal through circuit court instead of the city council.

Jonesboro mayor Harold Perrin said the current ordinance creates a conflict of interest. "The people who have actually proved the ordinance will be the ones enforcing, and I think now we're going from administrative to enforcement," he said.  "I think that needs to be separated."

Jonesboro police chief Mike Yates agreed the violation appeals process needed to be modified. The mayor's office and the Jonesboro police department are sponsors of the amendment. "We're streamlining the process and putting the legal issues with the legal system."

Police chief Yates said the amendment is a result of a million dollar lawsuit filed by Club Envision owner Reginald Prunty.  Prunty filed the lawsuit after the city council suspended his license to sell alcohol after repeated ABC violations.

Last week the case was dismissed.

The ordinance must pass three readings of the city council before it is amended.  Mayor Perrin said he does not believe the amended ordinance will face opposition.

"The council probably feels the same way I do.  If you're the one who's writing the laws and you're on the committee that's sanctioned it, you certainly don't need to be the one to do the enforcement."

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