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As I See It

Vote on booze sales may not matter



What do you have to do to get a drink around here? Leave is the answer in the tiny village of Ephraim, Wisconsin. That Door County community is the only dry community in Wisconsin. It has not been able to serve or sell alcohol since it was founded in 1853. That is fine, if that’s what the people there want. And in fact, voters there have repeatedly chosen in referendums over the years to stay dry. But there is a new effort underway to allow for booze sales in Ephraim. Citizens started a petition drive forcing a referendum on the issue. On Tuesday, voters there will go to the polls to decide if their community should remain dry. We don’t know how the vote will turnout, but as it turns out, it might not matter. Governor Walker today is expected to sign into law Assembly Bill 624, which essentially says that it doesn’t matter how the vote turns out. If this bill becomes law, votes on allowing booze sales would no longer be binding. The bill’s language reads, “his bill repeals the current law that allows the electors of a municipality to determine, by referendum, whether the municipality may issue retail licenses for the sale of malt beverages or intoxicating liquors”. That seems a slippery slope. If the people of Ephraim decide on Tuesday they want to be able to start serving booze, who is the state to tell them no? And how long before other referendums, not related to liquor sales, also become advisory only. That takes away the will of the people. It’s enough to make you want a drink.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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