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Haughton area to vote on alcohol laws

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Residents in Police Jury District 2 will vote on the future of alcohol sales in their area this weekend.

A special election in the district, which features parts of Haughton and Princeton, covering five propositions relating to alcoholic beverage sales will be held Saturday, Dec. 8.

A petition drive in August secured enough support from voters to get the proposal to allow the sale of alcohol greater than 6 percent by volume for all of the district.

Petitioners gained 25 percent of the registered voters in the district, around 1,500, in order to get the propositions on the Dec. 8 ballot.

That petition was handled by Hatch Consulting Group, an out-of-state firm that specializes in getting alcohol propositions on ballots in areas that are currently dry.

According to the group, it is currently only legal in the area for grocery stores and restaurants to sell beer and wine that contain under 6 percent of alcoholic content, which affects retailers and restaurants.

Glenn Benton, who is the current president of the police jury and represents District 2 to the Press-Tribune in September, “I’m not for it or against it. I’m just an elected official who has to do what the law tells us to do. It will now be up to the voters to decide what they want to do when they go to the polls.”

Propositions on the ballot include:

• Shall the sale of beverages of alcoholic content containing not more than 6 percent alcohol by volume be permitted by package only and not for consumption on the premise?

• Shall the sale of beverages of alcoholic content containing not more than 6 percent alcohol by volume for consumption on the premises be permitted?

• Shall the sale of beverage alcohol containing one-half of one percent by volume and above for consumption on the premises be permitted?

• Shall the sale of beverage alcohol containing one-half of one percent by alcohol and volume and above be permitted by package only and not for consumption on the premises?

However, at the Sept. 19 Police Jury meeting, Bossier Parish Attorney Patrick Jackson warned, “District 2 voters should understand there could be unintended consequences from the votes.”

Specifically, he said that if all the measures are voted down then that district would turn dry.

Benton noted that he personally doesn’t have a position and that the Jury is just to approve the vote and let the people decide.

However, he told the Press-Tribune in September that he does have some concerns with the loss of business for small stores in his area because they can’t sell alcohol.

“You have a couple of little grocery stores out here that depend on alcohol sales to pay their bills. I don’t think it will hurt Brookshires that bad to lose booze sales, but your small convenience stores out here, I think it will hurt them,” said Benton.

You can see the results from the election Saturday night online at the Bossier Press-Tribune’s website at:                   www.bossierpress.com/dec818.