Juvenile justice, Sunday liquor sales on local ballots for Oklahoma voters
Logan County voters will decide Tuesday whether the sale of liquor by the drink on Sundays and holidays ought to be legal in the county.
That question is one of a handful of matters that voters can expect to see alongside presidential primary races on Tuesday's ballot.
Under current law, bars and restaurants in Logan County are prohibited from serving alcoholic drinks stronger than 3.2 percent on Sundays and state holidays. The proposed ordinance would allow for the sale of liquor by the drink on Sundays, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving Day. It would still be illegal to serve alcohol on Easter and Christmas.
During a Logan County Commission meeting last year, Ronnie Gage, owner of Gage's Steakhouse in Guthrie, argued that Guthrie and Logan County were losing tax revenue from diners who drive to restaurants in Edmond or Oklahoma City on Sundays.
Gage said his restaurant lost an estimated $10,000 in revenue on a single Sunday last year when a film crew shooting a movie in Guthrie drove to Edmond for an after-party that they'd planned to hold in Guthrie. Had Gage been able to serve the crew alcohol with their dinner, they likely would have stayed in Guthrie, he said.
The measure appears to have drawn little organized opposition. James Hunt, senior pastor at First Southern Baptist Church in Guthrie, said he would like to see the church focus its efforts more on helping the needy rather than working against ballot measures like the one going before voters Tuesday.
"What is needed is not so much a return to prohibition but a return to pure religion that cares for orphans and widows, even as holiness is prized," Hunt said.
In Canadian County, voters will consider a 15 percent cut in a sales tax that funds the Gary E. Miller Children's Justice Center. The cut would take the tax from 0.35 percent to 0.30 percent.
District 3 Commissioner David Anderson said the tax generates more revenue than the county needs to operate the juvenile justice center. Even after the cut, the center would continue to operate with no loss to personnel or cutbacks to existing programs, Anderson said.
But Bill Alexander, the center's co-director, said revenue produced by the tax has declined for three years. That loss of revenue, paired with possible cuts to state funding, would mean that nearly 40 positions eventually would need to be eliminated, Alexander said.
In Oklahoma County, Republicans and Democrats seek their parties' nominations for county court clerk. Linda Amick Dodson, Owen Garretson and Rick Warren Jr. filed to run for the Republican nomination, while Charles Gray and Anastasia A. Pittman seek the Democratic nomination.