Rutledge on grocery store/liquor store compact: None of my business | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rutledge on grocery store/liquor store compact: None of my business

Posted By on Tue, Mar 28, 2017 at 4:46 PM

I believe I predicted this precise outcome of an opinion request to Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Issued today:

What is the validity of an agreement between the liquor stores and grocers? Also, is it enforceable?

RESPONSE: It seems that the referenced "agreement" could be a matter of contract between the parties mentioned. This office cannot generally undertake to interpret or otherwise opine on contracts or other agreements entered into by private parties. I am therefore unable to respond to these questions.
Rep. Greg Leding requested the opinion. It pertains to the pact between Walmart, other major grocers and a handful of "county line" liquor store owners on the bill, now law, that expanded wine sales in grocery stores from native and small farm wines to all wines. The county line liquor stores went along on the promise that the groceries wouldn't seek any local option elections in dry counties for eight years. The agreement also made a reference to oversight of the agreement by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a participation he has disavowed.

The point is, of course, that the only thing underpinning this deal is a "gentleman's agreement."

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