The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

February 8, 2013

Initiative petition: Plan to allow vote on Sunday liquor sales delivered to county commissioners

ENID, Okla. — Supporters of a plan for a vote to allow restaurants and clubs to sell liquor on Sundays have presented an initiative petition to county officials.

Mike Stuber, who also is an Enid city commissioner, delivered the petition Friday, giving a copy to Marc Bolz, chairman of the board of county commissioners, and a copy to the Garfield County Clerk’s Office.

Stuber said supporters plan to immediately start circulating the petitions. They have 90 days to collect the required number of signatures, which he said was 2,796.

“We will exceed this,” Stuber said.

The Garfield County Election Board then would verify the signatures against county voting records, to ensure they are correct. If enough valid signatures are collected, the measure would be put to a vote of county residents.

Stuber said supporters still are working out details of where petitions will be available for residents to sign. He said people could contact him via Facebook, or go to the  I Love Enid page on Facebook for details.

The petition seeks a vote on a plan to allow restaurants and clubs to serve drinks on Sundays with an alcohol content greater than 3.2 percent.

The state currently is split almost in half over the issue, with 35 counties already permitting restaurants to sell wine, liquor and strong beer on Sundays.

On Monday, Stuber and Tammy Wilson, also an Enid city commissioner, met with county commissioners to put the question on the ballot.

Commissioners, though, chose not to vote on the idea, preferring instead for the initiative petition approach.

At Monday’s meeting, Stuber said the main reason for requesting the ballot question was to pave the way for economic development.

“We’re trying to recruit more restaurants and businesses, and it’s difficult to recruit these businesses, especially the large chains, without (liquor) sales on Sundays,” Stuber said. “They’ll say, ‘If you don’t have that, we’re not going to go in,’ because it is a big portion of their profits.”

Stuber said the city’s efforts to recruit restaurant chains, such as Logan’s Roadhouse, Santa Fe Cattle Co., Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Charleston’s, are hampered by the county’s current restrictions on Sunday liquor sales.

Wilson said Enid already has lost out on two such chain restaurants, specifically because of the county’s current liquor laws.

“It’s come down to an economic development issue,” Wilson said. “They’ve told us, ‘We’re not coming unless you do this.’”

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