The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

May 3, 2013

Liquor petition to be turned in Monday to county commission

Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Three months after Garfield County commissioners turned down his request to help end the county’s dry-Sunday law, Mike Stuber plans to walk into their meeting Monday with thousands of signatures calling for a vote on the issue.

Enid city commissioners Stuber and Tammy Wilson, along with other supporters, have collected more than the 2,796 signatures needed to order the vote. Their petition is due back to the county clerk no later than Wednesday.

If Garfield County Election Board certifies enough registered voters signed the petition, Stuber and Wilson get their vote, which would be scheduled for Oct. 8.

County commissioners said earlier this year they would rather see a vote be called through the initiative petition process. Stuber and Wilson responded by placing petition documents in several restaurants and businesses.

Stuber said Friday he believes there are enough signatures on paper, and that he would be turning in about 200 petition pages to the county clerk.

“We’re confident we’ll have enough to get this to a vote and let the people decide,” he said.

Petitions will be circulating through this weekend, he said.

The push to serve or be served alcohol on Sunday emerged from the frustration of losing chances to snag chain restaurants that rely on their beer, wine and liquor service.

Stuber and others have said that Enid has missed out because of the dry-Sunday law.

“We had been in contention for Logan’s Roadhouse, Santa Fe Cattle Company and the group that owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster — I think they were looking at an Olive Garden,” Stuber said. “If you take 15 percent of their week away, it’s not a tough decision, business-wise. You’re going to go where you can maximize your profit potential.”

If it comes to a vote on Oct. 8, Stuber predicts an outcome in his favor.

“I believe it will be a popular measure,” he said. “I haven’t heard any good arguments (against it). I’ve just heard people who don’t think others should drink on Sundays, and, honestly, that’s not necessarily their decision.

The dry-Sunday law is at least 28 years old. On April 30, 1985, Garfield County voters marked their ballots in a special election to augment state liquor laws. Their intent was to prohibit the sale of individual drinks of alcohol on Sunday and certain holidays.

The new law, if it passes, specifically would allow the sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays between 10 a.m. and midnight. The proposal also opens up Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day, but keeps Thanksgiving and Christmas dry.