City Council Passes Alcohol Ordinance

February 20, 2007 - Posted at 9:45 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Final action was taken Tuesday night on the proposed ordinance to regulate and control alcoholic beverages in the city of Jonesboro.

There were a few tense moments before the final decision... and also some changes made to the alcohol ordinance before the city council decided to ultimately pass the regulations.

Violence, mixed with alcohol, in Jonesboro's private clubs was an emotional topic Tuesday evening.

"Was it not Sunday night that a woman was hit in the face with a beer bottle at four o'clock in the morning at your club since the last meeting?" asked city council member Chris Moore during the open discussion.

"You could be sitting at a restaurant and someone could throw a fork or knife at you and hurt you. We can't tie people's hands behind their backs, sir," answered Skeeter Nash, president of the Fraternal Oder of the Eagles.

The council did decide to remove employee qualifications and work permits and also reduce the 5% tax on alcohol sales to 3%.  Those in favor consider it a victory.

"It's a major step here.  We're going to keep going before the ABC board and fighting these things.  we're looking at some other options, maybe to take this whole issue out of the ABC boards hands because they clearly don't care what the will of the people is," said pastor Steve Jacobson of the Friendly Hope Baptist Church.

Police Chief Mike Yates is confident the city will benefit from the regulations.

"Laws are not designed, passed or put in place for those who play by the rules.   They are put in place for those who do not," said Yates.

And while representatives from the Elks lodge also spoke at Tuesday's meeting, it was the Fraternal Order of the Eagles that remained the most vocal.

"There have been at times it has felt like a witch hunt for the eagles, but when you are the big dogs in town, people tend to want to try to pull you down and I think that may be a little the case here," said Nash.

The new ordinance won't go into effect for another 30 days and when that happens, all private clubs in Jonesboro will have to close their doors by 2:00 a.m.