Alcohol sales petition drive reports progress | Arkansas Blog

Friday, June 6, 2014

Alcohol sales petition drive reports progress

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM

CLOSE ENOUGH: Sen. Jason Rapert doesn't think alcohol sales need to get any closer to Faulkner County than outlets just up the road in Conway County.
  • CLOSE ENOUGH: Sen. Jason Rapert doesn't think alcohol sales need to get any closer to Faulkner County than outlets just up the road in Conway County.
I checked with David Couch, attorney for a petition effort to allow alcohol sales in Faulkner, Saline and Craighhead counties and a newer campaign to end dry counties statewide.

He said he was certain the drives in the three counties would gather signatures necessary to qualify for the November ballot. He said the state drive was just beginning, but was optimistic. Paid canvassers are doing the work. They'll need 78,133 signatures of registered voters to qualify the statewide constitutional amendment by July 7. The county drives require 38 percent of voters, a good grassroots demonstration of voter strength.

(Note: Though the county and state drives share some participants and are using the same canvassing company, they are separate enterprises and ethics filing to date haven't yet revealed contribution sources.)

This progress comes despite an effort funded at least in part by alcohol interests in neighboring wet counties to beat the petition drive. The Faulkner County Quorum Court adopted a hurryup resolution against the effort yesterday. And, though a Democrat-Gazette article quoted a JP as saying the resolution was not about discouraging petition signing, a backer of the effort who was at the meeting said other JPs said that was precisely the goal. Of course it was, because it dovetails with an expensive mail campaign to discourage people from signing petitions, available at local Walmarts, among others. Walmart money is a likely supporter of the campaign, as it was in Benton County.

Opposition researchers  have dug deeper into the campaign money Sen. Jason Rapert has received from entities related to the opposing wet forces in Conway County. Rapert has been among the noisiest opponents of alcohol sales in Faulkner County, along with some of his putatively religious legislative brethren. His lamest excuse to date is claiming that it diverts attention from tornado cleanup in the northern part of the county.

As I've noted already, lobbyist Bruce Hawkins, who represents Conway County alcohol sellers and who has an employee as officer of the committee fighting the Faulkner wet proposal, is responsible for $4,000 in Rapert's campaign treasury, from his lobbying firm and PAC. The Hawkins PAC received $32,500 in 2012 and 2013 from Conway County beverage dealers and the Distilled Spirits Council. The research shows Hawkins' employee benefits service company gave Rapert $4,000 in 2012 and 2013 and the Hawkins Insurance agency gave another $4,000. It identified another $1,150 in small contribution from alcoholic beverage wholesalers and retailers. In all, they found more than $13,000 in Rapert contributions that smell of alcohol.

The committee fighting the Faulkner wet proposal has not yet disclosed any financial numbers on its sources and spending.

Tags: , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Love, Amazon

    Well it appears that the Virginia suburbs of Washington and New York city will divide new Amazon headquarters operations. Here's a critical review of the outcome from The New Republic.
    • Nov 13, 2018
  • Speaking of election fraud: Who's scamming who?

    Donald Trump is saying repeatedly, without evidence, that fraud is afoot in the counting of votes, particularly in Florida. In one Republican-leaning Florida county, some 150 ballots were cast by fax or e-mail, contrary to the law. None dare call this voter fraud.
    • Nov 13, 2018
  • Another guilty plea in Missouri in nonprofit scandal involving Arkansas legislators

    Marilyn Nolan, the former CEO of Preferred Family Healthcare, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Springfield to a conspiracy charge.
    • Nov 13, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation