The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 15, 2013

Initiative petition for Sunday liquor sales is back in circulation

Kevin Hassler, Associate Editor
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The initiative petition seeking a vote to allow restaurants and clubs in Garfield County to sell liquor on Sundays is back in circulation after supporters made some changes.

The biggest change was when the vote would be held. Mike Stuber, a supporter of the proposal and Enid city commissioner, said the date for the election would be Oct. 8.

The date in the first petition was not an option, he said, and organizers also had received some instructions on how to collect signatures that was not completely accurate.

He submitted the new petition Wednesday, and organizers have 90 days from then to collect the number of required signatures, which is 2,796.

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.

According to the petition, if the vote is successful, restaurants and clubs in the county could sell liquor from 10 a.m. to midnight Sundays. It also includes a provision to allow restaurants and clubs to serve liquor on Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July, holidays on which law currently prohibits liquor sales.

Stuber and Tammy Wilson, also an Enid city commissioner, met with county commissioners Feb. 4, seeking a vote of the board on the issue.

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

At the 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.”

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.’”

Garfield County Election Board would verify the signatures on the petition 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.

Petitions are available at Pane Vino, Callahan’s, Ritchie Farmers Insurance Agency, The Chiropractic Center-Viki Resler White, The Felt Bird, Buck’s Party Shop, Oakwood County Club, Cycle Ward, Q-Spot and Napoli’s.

Stuber said people could contact him or Wilson via Facebook, or go to the I Love Enid page on Facebook for details.