Booze petitions circulating
Hartselle’s issue that just won’t die is alive again.
Petitions calling for a vote to legalize alcohol sales are at some area gas stations and restaurants. The petitions are a legal requirement in order to place the matter on the ballot.
Wet/dry referendums have special requirements in regards to such petitions. Alabama law requires 30 percent of the registered voters in the most recent general election – in this case the 2008 municipal election – sign the petitions before it can be presented to the council. According to City Clerk Rita Lee, that means the petitions would have to contain the verifiable names of 717 people registered to vote in the city of Hartselle before the petitions could go on to the council. If that threshold is met, it would then be up to the council to set the date for another wet/dry referendum.
Hartselle overwhelmingly voted down a 2002 push to legalize alcohol sales. Back then, opposition came mainly from a political action committee, Families for a Safe Hartselle, which received a large bulk of its funding from area churches.
However, the landscape around Hartselle has changed since the 2002 referendum. Athens, Town Creek and Moulton have both voted to allow alcohol sales since Hartselle voters said “no.” Voters in neighboring Moulton narrowly approved alcohol sales in June, with 554 people for vs. 499 against. Moulton officials said they expect alcohol sales there to begin in the fall.
Town Creek and Moulton are both located in Lawrence County and the push is now on to legalize alcohol sales for the entire county.