Local Legislators Doubt Law Change - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/8/08

Local Legislators Doubt Law Change

As we first told you Monday, Lubbock City Councilman Todd Klein would like to cut out the petition process and have city leadership call for an alcohol election.  Local lawmakers tell us they would consider any new proposal, but add that the process is in place for a reason.

This whole discussion started with Councilman Klein's resolution to look at zoning issues in case Lubbock ever approved alcohol sales within city limits. So, Tuesday NewsChannel 11 asked our state representatives if they think the legislature would change the law.

"I still like the election process, but I'll consider whatever the city recommends," State Representative Delwin Jones said. 

Right now, if Lubbockites wanted to vote on allowing alcohol sales within the city, more than 15,000 people would have to sign a petition calling for an election. To go county wide, that number jumps to nearly 19,000.  Klein would like to cut out the petition process, and city Councilman John Leonard says he'd support the idea.

"At no point would the public ever be left out. I think any efforts in future legislation at the state level would be to enable the council to call an election instead of having a petition call an election," Leonard said. 

"It seems to me the present system where it takes petitions from the general citizenry is working, and if enough people are interested in it, they could get a petition completed," Jones said. 

Jones says the cost of an election is reason enough to make sure folks want the issue on the ballot.

"If it's just a small group that are real agitated and they can't get enough petitions, then there shouldn't be the expense of the election," Jones said. 

State Representative Carl Isett tells NewsChannel 11 he'd considered a proposal, but says he'd be hesitant to remove the petition process.  The last time the state looked to make a major change to alcohol sales was in the 1970's for liquor by the glass.

"Pretty volatile issue, and everybody's emotions were just as strong as they are now," Jones said. 

The measure passed, but Jones doesn't predict another push would be successful.

"I would doubt that it would pass, unless the city of Lubbock get a municipal league, some statewide support," Jones said. 

NewsChannel 11 couldn't reach State Senator Robert Duncan for comment Tuesday.  In the meantime, city council members will discuss Klein's idea to look at zoning issues just in case Lubbock ever does become wet. That talk is scheduled for Thursday's city council meeting.

7/8/08
Lubbockites Reacts to Alcohol Proposal
Lubbock citizens are talking about a proposed alcohol resolution on Thursday's City Council meeting agenda. NewsChannel 11's Brittany Pieper hit the streets to find out what Lubbockites have to say.

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