Oklahoma Supreme Court Invalidates Alcohol Reform Petition10-Jun-2016
In the continuing saga of whether or not Oklahomans will have a chance to vote for the modernization of state liquor laws, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has struck down a petition by the Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom to allow the sale of regular beer and wine in grocery stores. The petition, backed by major retailers including Wal-Mart, was struck down after the Court ruled in favor of a legal challenge by the
Oklahoma Retail Liquor Association.
The petition by the Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom is almost identical to SJR 68, the senate joint resolution that passed the state legislature and should allow Oklahomans the opportunity to vote on the sale of wine and high-point beer in grocery stores. The groups says it filed the petition as a back-up plan to create an opportunity for voters should SJR 68 fail. Now that the petition has been struck down and SJR 68 has passed, the group says it will shift its support to SJR 68.
The Court has not released grounds for the 7-1 ruling in favor of the Oklahoma Retail Liquor Association and against the Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom. Depending on the grounds on which the Court struck down the petition, there could be similar legal issues that would keep SJR 68 off the ballot.
The Okahoma Retail Liquor Association has already had one petition struck down by the Supreme Court, but it is making plans to move forward with a revised edition. Its petition differs from SJR 68 and the Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom measures in that it calls for phased-in licensing, limited licenses, and restrictions licensing a grocery store already in close proximity to a retail liquor store.
Despite these challenges, voters should have a chance to vote on the modernization of Oklahoma's alcohol sales laws. According to a spokesman for the Oklahomans for Consumer Freedom, "Voters can rest assured there will still be an opportunity to vote on modernizing Oklahoma's laws in November."
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