Tuesday, February 18, 2014

H.B. 836, Bringing Libations to the PRVWSD

House Bill 836, authored by Reservoir Representative, Brent Powell, passed the Mississippi House of Representatives on February 13 by an 81-35 vote.  Entitled, "An act to amend section 67-1-5, Miss. Code of 1972, to include within the definition of the term 'Qualified Resort Area' under the Local Option Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, land that is owned by the PRVWSD and located in [Rankin County]; to amend section 67-1-16 . . . to require an election to be held in such area before such area may be designated a Qualified Resort Area . . . ."

Miss. Code Ann. section 67-1-1 et seq. is known as the Local Option Alcoholic Beverage Control Law. Folks may not know this but "the policy of [Mississippi] is . . . in favor of prohibition of the manufacture, sale, distribution, possession and transportation of intoxicating liquor". Id. s 67-1-3.  However, counties and municipalities are entitled to vote themselves out of the state's prohibition laws, if they so desire. As you know, many counties have voted so to do, including Hinds and Madison.  Rankin has not.   The mechanics for the vote are further contained in the statutes, and they are extremely dry.  

"Qualified Resort Status" areas are defined in section 67-1-5.  These are areas that can be designated as "wet" either by the Mississippi Department of Revenue, or by statute.  By statutory definition, they should  be places commonly known to attract tourists "and other transients" because of historical, scenic or recreational attributes of the area.   Several locations qualify as "resorts" pursuant to this Code section, including the clubhouses on State run golf courses (i.e., LeFleur's Bluff), private golf courses such as Castlewoods, and the Trustmark Park/Bass Pro area (known as the West Pearl Tax District).  Representative Powell's amendment would add to that list "land that is owned by the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District and located in any county in which Mississippi Highway 43 and Mississippi Highway 25 intersect".   

However, before the PRVWSD can be officially designated as a qualified resort area, an election must be held on the question.  To start the election process, a petition signed by at least twenty percent of the duly qualified voters of the area must be presented to the Board of Supervisors.  Thereafter, thirty days' notice shall be given to the voters prior to a vote.  The area will qualify upon a majority vote.  

The Bill passed a full vote by the House with no substantial amendments, and now rests with the Mississippi Senate.  I'll keep you updated as to its status.

The language of the bill after the jump.  Underlined text = proposed amended language to the statute.

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