Change in Oklahoma Liquor Sales May Become Ballot Issue

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Oklahoma residents might be able to express their opinions on whether to keep the existing liquor laws in the state or not as early as the general ballot in 2012, so says Brian Howe, spokesman for the group Oklahomans for Modern Laws, according to NewsOK.com.

Current Oklahoma law allows grocery and convenience stores to sell only "low power" or 3.2 beer. For other alcoholic beverages, including wine, Oklahomans must go to a liquor store. There are strong opinions on both sides of the issue, but Howe asserts that everyday Oklahomans support changing the laws to allow "high power" beer and wine sales in both grocery and convenience stores.

Oklahoma Was a Dry State Not So Long Ago

Until 1959, there were two states that still had not overturned liquor prohibition laws: Mississippi and Oklahoma, reported The Florence Times Daily. That changed in April of that year, allowing Oklahomans to purchase alcoholic beverages in their home state and even then, according to The Milwaukee Journal, they had to wait at least another 60 days until the state legislature verified the amendment to the state's constitution and repealed previous prohibition laws.

Taverns Limited to 3.2 Beer Sales

Once the alcohol prohibition was repealed, taverns/bars/clubs were limited to selling 3.2 beer. The law that mandated such limited sales was called the anti-saloon law. In 1984, the issue went to the ballot box where 52 percent of voters said "yes" to repealing this law, paving the way for sale of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages by the glass related The Bonham Daily Favorite.

Liquor Law Change Task Force

NewsOn6.com reported that in May, a legislative task force was formed to discuss the pros and cons of keeping Oklahoma's current alcohol sales laws after legislation proposed by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, to initiate changes fell flat on its face when the Senate's Business and Commerce Committee Chairman Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, refused all discussion on the bill.

Instead, the task force was formed to discuss the many issues surrounding changing existing alcohol laws including potential loss of jobs and businesses for present liquor store owners.

Task Force Has No Traction

The well-meaning formation of a legislative task force to discuss potential changes to Oklahoma's liquor laws turned out to be for naught. In October, NewsOK.com reported the task force dismantled after two meetings with some members feeling there wasn't enough common ground between the opposing sides of the issue to warrant further meetings.

For now, Howe and his group intend to move forward with their intention to place the decision about Oklahoma's liquor laws in the hands of the voters. Petition signatures may be gathered as early as April 2012, with the group seeking to obtain 200,000 signatures.

Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation , L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.

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