Any regular reader of Lyke2Drink knows that I'm not a fan of government regulation that restricts responsible consumption of alcohol. Neo-Prohibitionists would make me laugh if not for the fact that they have more political pull than most Americans realize. The reality is that forces are at work on a daily basis to take away our right to gather as adults to enjoy conversation, fellowship and a couple of drinks. The Constitution protects our right to gather in a peaceful manner, but many would like to dictate where, when and how we do it.
Having moved from New York to North Carolina last year I've been exposed to southern laws and regulations, ranging from strange blue laws and dry counties. In some areas you cannot buy a drink on a Sunday. In other locations you have to drive to the next county to buy beer no matter what day of the week it is. Imagine being in the restaurant business or owning a bowling alley in one of those communities. I will bet a significant amount of money that a National Football League expansion franchise will never be awarded to a dry county in a state with blue laws.
Residents in several dry counties around the country will be going to the polls on Nov. 7th with the chance to vote their way to doing what the rest of us take for granted -- buy a drink without having to leave town.
Arkansas: Citizens for a Dry Marion County are wearing t-shirts and posting signs to try to hold on to a 60-year ban of alcohol sales. In Arkansas, 42 of 75 counties are dry. The last to go wet was in 1978.
Texas: In Lumberton voters will decide if alcohol can be sold in a limited area of the city. Most of the community would still be dry. Angelina County, Lancaster and Cockrell Hill also go to the polls to see if alcohol will be decriminalized. Texas voters have considered 177 alcohol resolutions since 2003. More than 80 percent have been approved.
Tennessee: Soddy-Daisy and Collegedale each have ballot initiatives that would allow the sale of alcohol.
Oklahoma: McClain County voters will be voting to repeal a Prohibition on liquor by the drink sales. A similar measure was defeated in 1985. Statewide, 43 out of 77 counties have passed liquor-by-the-drink.
Mississippi: Opponents to ending the dry laws in Pearl River County have been holding demonstrations featuring skits portraying children injured by drunk drivers to try to convince voters to defeat a resolution on the ballot to allow alcohol sales in the county.
Illinois: Town of Cortland voters will be going to the polls in the Spring to vote on whether a nearly 70-year-old ban on liquor sales should stay in place. In 1997, a ballot question on the same issue failed by a narrow margin.