For the second time, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has rejected a ballot initiative pertaining to alcohol sales in dry counties pushed by Little Rock attorney David Couch

Couch’s proposal would allow dry counties to conduct elections on the on-premise sale and consumption of alcohol if they a petition was signed by 15 percent of the voters. The on-premise sales and consumption would only be allowed at hotels, restaurants, microbrewery-restaurants, or festivals. 


The popular name of Couch’s proposal: “On Premise Local Option Election Alcohol Act.”

Here’s his proposed ballot title: 


An act to allow a dry county or city of the first class within the dry county to conduct an election to permit the on premise sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages upon the petition of fifteen percent (15%) of the qualified electors residing within the boundaries of the dry county or city of the first class within the dry county; providing that on premise sale and consumption is allowed only at a hotel, restaurant, microbrewery-restaurant or festival; defining hotel, restaurant, microbrewery-restaurant, festival and other terms; and providing that no sales for off premise consumption is allowed.

Rutledge said that the language in Couch’s proposed ballot title was ambiguous. 

Couch told me he had not yet read her opinion in detail yet. “I thought we addressed all her concerns,” he wrote in an email. “I wish that in the first rejection letter she would address ALL the concerns she has so that when those are corrected you could feel confident that your measure would be approved. It seems fundamentally unfair to do it in a piecemeal fashion.”