Panhandle Residents Could Soon Vote on 'Liquor by the Glass' Laws

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Marianna- In the past, getting a tough topic like alcohol sales on the referendum, required a petition with signatures from 25% of Jackson County voters. Residents tried in the 2012 election, but were unable to get enough signatures. However, recently proposed state legislation could change that.

"I think the number [of signatures] has been decreased to 10%" explained Jackson County Commissioner, Dr. Willie Spires. "And, I think another option that was added that the board of commissioners could decide by a majority vote to put it on referendum for the voters to decide the liquor by the drink in the county."

Spires said he thought 'by the drink' liquor sales could increase economic development in the county.

"Several years ago we started es-crowing monies to build a conference center in Jackson County. If we were able to pursue that, we could have a conference center and possibly have some major conferences held in the area which would bring people to Jackson County. But in most cases, when you find a large conference center, they are able to serve alcoholic beverages. So, I think economically it would be a boost to the county. And, I think also some of the major chain restaurants may consider also locating in the area" Spires said.

Governor Scott has not signed the bill into law, so the issue has not been discussed by commissioners yet. But people like Nick Campos said he would like to see the issue on the ballot.

"We just like to enjoy a drink with our meal!"

Spires said to his knowledge, the county had never voted specifically on liquor sales by the glass.

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