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Friday, November 8, 2019, I attended a called Board of Alderman meeting in Mendenhall.  Mayor Todd Booth arranged for ABC Enforcement Agent Everette Barksdale to speak.  The meeting was attended by a large number of Simpson County law officials, citizens, and city personal.

I learned several interesting things!  The state of Mississippi is wet but each county has the option to decide if they want to be wet or dry.  Following the voting on November 5, 2019, the county of Simpson voted liquor could be sold.  Once the election is certified and information sent to the Secretary of State, the county is considered wet.

Although I have not read the entire liquor laws, Agent Barksdale did hit on several key areas of the law.

No one outside the state of Mississippi can receive a liquor permit.  Only one liquor license per person in the state.  An extensive back ground check is conducted on the person applying for the license.

Package stores can only sell liquor and set ups no tobacco.  The store must have a physical address.  Measurement for distance between church and store is corner to corner.  The state law states a restaurant must sell 25% food.  (Most likely each of our 4 municipalities will adjust the amount).  Liquor stores are open 10 AM to 10 PM Monday through Saturday.  No drive throughs are allowed with liquor stores.  A building (restaurant or package store) which is in a city zoned area allowing liquor sales must be 100 feet from a school or church.  A building (restaurant or package store) which is in a city zones area and being constructed must be 400 feet from a school or church.

Magee, Mendenhall, D’Lo, and Braxton will control the sale and placement of stores will be controlled by Privilege License issued by each city.  The Board of Alderman will draw up the ordinances addressing all areas of the liquor sale.

Part of the discussion was somewhat confusing.  But the bottom line is the state sets the ground rules and the city adds the ordinances.

We may want a tighter control of how much food must be sold in an establishment that allows the sale of liquor.  Presently, under the “beer” laws, a restaurant must have 60% food.  I imagine the board will adhere to the “beer” laws plus make adjustments.  I think zoning will be a big issue.

One question David Dunn and I discussed was how would private establishments that host events be allowed to provide liquor.  From what we understood, the venue would apply for resort status which allows for on site liquor.

The process for a liquor permit is no short or easy accomplishment.  I have been told that two individuals in the city of Magee have secured building for the purpose of liquor stores and have begun checking into the process of securing liquor license.

I’m just saying, there are a lot of hoops and loops to began the sale of  liquor.  My opinion is that if you are considering selling liquor or owning a package store, I would check with the city first for a Privilege License.  To me, one of the keys is the privilege license.

If you have suggestions for restrictions you would like see adhered to the sale of liquor in Magee, comment on the article.  I will pass the information to the Board.  You elected your aldermen, let them know your feelings on different issues.

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