Oklahoma liquor store owners not giving up on initiative petition effort
Amie Hendrickson, manager of Edmond Wine Shop, has spent the past several weeks trying to get the word out about State Question 791, the initiative petition effort Oklahoma liquor stores are backing to change the state's alcohol laws.
On Monday, Hendrickson spent her day off delivering signature forms to area liquor stores. Saturday, she and other liquor store workers gathered in a local park to collect signatures.
"The response has been great once they hear what we are offering and that we are not against modernization. We are greeted pretty warmly I think," Hendrickson said.
Unlike State Question 792, which would put wine and full-strength beer in grocery stores across the state, the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma's petition would phase in licenses for wine sales at grocery stores over a period of 10 years.
"It would give retail package stores the chance to adapt and compete and to get bigger and better to allow them to survive," said Bryan Kerr, president of the Retail Liquor Association.
The liquor stores are also promoting the initiative petition under the slogan "Cold beer sooner" because their measure would allow for refrigerated beer in all stores in July 2017, instead of October 2018, when State Question 792 would go into effect.
With the deadline looming Friday for Gov. Mary Fallin to sign off on statewide ballot measures, it's unlikely that liquor store owners will be able to gather enough signatures in time to place State Question 791 on the November ballot.
Fallin signed a proclamation Monday to officially place the rival State Question 792 on the November ballot.
However, the liquor store owners say they will continue to gather signatures through October in hopes of getting the measure on the ballot in November 2018 if State Question 792 fails, or the courts declare 792 unconstitutional. The Retail Liquor Association has a pending court challenge to State Question 792.
"We definitely feel that 792 has some legal issues that may or may not cause it to be fully stricken by the courts," said Vance Gregory, owner of Edmond Wine Shop. "We are going to give it a shot anyway."