Wed May 27 00:55:26 PDT 2015
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Liberty County Businesses Banned from Serving Alcohol
Brian Hill

Liberty County is one of a few counties still considered a dry county, but business owners say not being able to serve beer and wine is cutting into their profits. Now the state will decide if it can be served. "We've always been hard workers around here, and people enjoy a cold beer in the evening to come to come sit around and socialize," said resident Hal Atkinson. However, in in the last six to eight months, Atkinson says officials have made it illegal for businesses to serve alcohol on their premises. "It's causing me to lose a lot of business," said Slip -n- Slide owner Hubert Pitts. "A lot of folks that want to come down shoot pool, bring their girlfriends, bring their wives and have a good time. But they just won't do it." Pitts believes commissioners made the decision based on their religious beliefs. But one commissioner told NewsChannel 7 over the phone it's a way to keep the county safe from drunk drivers. "If they come down here and I had a license, I would make sure that the people got home safe if they had to much to drink," Pitts explained. Right now, businesses can only sell packaged alcohol. Pitts says he's met the permit requirements to serve alcohol, but commissioners won't sign his paperwork. "All they got to do is sign off on it," Pitts explained. "I don't see where they can be telling me, with their church beliefs, and I think their should be a separation between the churches and the government." Attorney General Pam Bondi will make the final call on whether the ban is legal. "I'm talking to my lawyer," said Pitts. "So we'll decide from there what we can and can't do." Commissioners expect to hear back from Bondi any day now. They're holding a public hearing on June 4 to determine whether to extend a temporary ban on serving for the next three months.

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