The Town of Grant has set a wet-dry referendum for May 9. But people in rural Marshall County might get such a referendum in the not-too-distant future.
Sen. Clay Scofield said the local legislative delegation is looking at the issue of a countywide wet-dry referendum. The impetus to do so is apparently a petition that is circulating seeking to have a countywide wet-dry vote.
Sen. Scofield said it would be up to a vote of the people if such a referendum did take place and it would be in the form of a constitutional amendment. But he said the delegation has a lot of due diligence to do before ever getting to that point.
“Our concern, if the county were to go wet, is whether the County Commission has the ability to regulate the businesses that serve alcohol,” Sen. Scofield said. “They would need to be able to say what type business could sell, where they could be located, all of that. We need to make sure certain establishments are not allowed and that anyone selling alcohol has to be a certain distance away from a church.”
In the cities, the City Council does that. But the councils have a lot more “home rule” than the Commission does. Any countywide wet-dry bill would probably include language spelling out that the Commission could regulate alcohol sales just as the councils do in the towns.
“The county doesn’t have that authority now,” Sen. Scofield said. “It’s the Wild West out in the county.”
He said the delegation is still looking at it and doing its research.
“If we do this, we want to make sure we do this the right way,” he said.
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