Hester bill would allow sale of wine in grocery stores | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 6, 2017

Hester bill would allow sale of wine in grocery stores

Posted By on Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 7:46 PM

click to enlarge Sen. Bart Hester (file photo) - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • Sen. Bart Hester (file photo)
Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs) today filed a bill to allow the sale of wine from any winery in grocery stores.

Under current law, only wine from small-farm wineries and Arkansas wineries is allowed to be sold in grocery stores. In disclosure, I might as well confess that I personally find this prohibition annoying. Nothing against Arkansas wine, but variety is the spice of life, and some grocery shoppers might enjoy buying other wine from time to time. Anyway.

Here's some of the inside baseball on this. The politics are tangled. I'm hearing that the bill is Walmart's top priority this session and that the retail behemoth has managed to get the Alcohol Beverage and Retailers Association (a client of lobbyist and major GOP player Keith Emis) to sit this one out and not fight it — in exchange for Walmart not pushing additional efforts to create more wet counties in the state. Those sitting out the fight apparently include big players in Maumelle and Conway County (represented by lobbyists Bruce Hawkins and Emis if you're scoring at home) who fought tooth and nail against David Couch's recent push to make all counties in the state wet.

However, the rumor is that a splinter group of liquor stores have formed an alliance to fight Hester's bill.

Hester is a Republican from Northwest Arkansas, where Walmart obviously has clout, but he has butted heads with their interests in the past — notably on the private option Medicaid expansion. (When Hester initially ran, Walmart was in his opponent Tim Summers' corner in the primary; Hester was pushed by Americans for Prosperity.) Hester has carried water for Walmart from time to time, however.

There's a lot of money at stake on this issue, so I'd expect a drag-out fight.

Tags: , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

  • Abuse again at Arkansas juvenile lockup

    A guard was fired after choking a child at the Alexander Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center. It’s the latest in a long history of mistreatment at the facility.
    • May 26, 2017
  • Health care policy FAQ

    What proposed state and federal changes mean for the future of health care policy in Arkansas.
    • May 25, 2017
  • The health of a hospital

    The Medicaid expansion helped Baxter County Regional Medical Center survive and thrive, but a federal repeal bill threatens to imperil it and its patients.
    • May 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Judge Griffen: Why black lives matter

    Another few words from Judge Wendell Griffen growing from the controversy over the sale of Black Lives Matter T-shirts at the state black history museum — removed by the administration and restored after protests from Griffen and others stirred by a story in the Arkansas Times:
    • Mar 13, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation