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: , , ,


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

Readers also liked…

  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017
  • Trump's strangulation of Obamacare

    If he can't kill it outright, Donald Trump will do all he can to cripple Obamacare. Vox has detailed reporting on deep cuts in federal spending that support nonprofit agencies that help people sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
    • Sep 18, 2017
  • Tom Cotton's influence on Trump's new security chief

    U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton is getting credit for pushing President Donald Trump to select Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser, Politico reports.
    • Feb 21, 2017

Slideshows

Most Recent Comments

 

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