More Towns Seeking Votes on Liquor
By The Associated Press
JACKSON — With Corinth already scheduled for a referendum on alcohol sales, voters in at least four others have started petition drives for such an election.
Organizers in Senatobia, Philadelphia, Iuka and Brookhaven are collecting signatures under a state law that allows some municipalities to hold liquor referendums, The Clarion-Ledger reported.
A new state law requires county seats and cities of more than 5,000 to vote on whether to stay dry if 20 percent of the registered voters call for it.
If the measure passes, the city’s governing body would decide whether to allow only restaurant sales by the glass or package stores as well.
Mississippi was the first state to ratify the 18th Amendment establishing prohibition, and was the last to repeal prohibition, a full 33 years after the federal amendment was struck.
But like petition organizers in Corinth, where an election is scheduled Dec. 11, Lincoln County liquor vote supporters say their cities are losing money to those that allow alcohol sales.
Brookhaven Mayor Les Bumgarner said he doesn’t drink but understands that many people want a glass of wine or a mixed drink to go with dinner. “When you go to McComb you see a lot of people from Brookhaven, and they’re always in a nice restaurant that sells liquor by the glass,” he said. “You don’t see them in the fast food restaurants.”
Kathy Waterbury, spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue, said overall sales don’t change when a dry area turns wet, but they — and businesses — do move.
After Flowood got special permission for an election and approved liquor by the glass in 2009, Mugshots moved there from Jackson, she noted.