Challenge to alcohol petition struck down by Supreme Court

LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - The Arkansas Supreme Court denied a petition that would have taken an issue off the November ballot. According to an opinion delivered October 16, 2014, Issue No. 4, also known as "The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment" will appear before voters on November 4, 2014.

According to the Supreme Court opinion, Brian Richardson and Mary Dillard, on behalf of Citizens for Local Rights, challenged the "timeliness and sufficiency of an initiative petition for a proposed constitutional amendment".

According to the opinion, Amendment 7 of the Arkansas Constitution states that residents have the power to proposed legislative measures, laws and amendments.

State law also suggests petitions must be submitted four months before the general election. On Monday, July 7th, the alcohol petition was submitted to the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office. Friday, July 4th, would have been the four month timeline.

Justice Karen R. Baker wrote that the Constitution states, "if an election law deadline occurs on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the deadline shall be the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.

Justice Baker also wrote that the language of "Issue No. 4" includes and "impartial summary of the proposed amendment that will give voters a fair understanding of the issues presented".

If voters approve of the measure in November, the manufacture, sale, distribution and transportation of alcohol would be legal in every county of Arkansas starting July 1, 2015. State lawmakers would be allowed to regulate the sale and distribution of alcohol, but would not be allowed to prohibit it. All local laws would also be repealed under the amendment.

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