Commission supports alcohol sales referendum

Published 3:13 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2015

County residents could have the option to vote “yes” or “no” on a wet/dry referendum in 2016 for Chilton County.

Commissioners voted on Monday to allow citizens in the county the right to vote on a wet/dry referendum during the November 2016 General Election with all of the proceeds from the alcohol sales going to the county road department for roads and bridges.

Commissioner Shannon Welch brought up the measure up for a vote, explaining that Rep. Jimmy Martin of Clanton plans to have a bill drafted to introduce to the Alabama Legislature allowing residents in the county the option to vote “yes” or “no” to alcohol sales.

Currently, three municipalities in Chilton County sell alcoholic beverages, with the local governments of Jemison, Thorsby and Clanton seeing increases in revenue because of associated taxes.

A recent ruling by the Alabama Supreme Court struck down a state law from 2009 that allowed municipalities of a certain size to hold referendums on the sale of alcoholic beverages even if they were located inside a county that did not allow such sales.

Jemison and Thorsby voters approved alcohol sales in separate elections in 2010, based on the 2009 law.

Martin sponsored bills that allowed Jemison and Thorsby to continue alcohol sales, and the bills were passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley on March 12.

According to, Chilton County is one of 25 counties in Alabama out of 67 that is still dry.

Commissioners Welch, Joseph Parnell, Joe Headley, Allen Caton, Greg Moore and Bobby Agee voted in favor of the motion with Heedy Hayes opposed.

County attorney John Hollis Jackson suggested a few minor changes be made to the bill including clarification that the money from the alcohol sales will be going to the road department for roads and bridges. Jackson also suggested clarification that municipalities in the county who are already selling alcohol would be excluded from the vote.

Martin said on Tuesday that after the clarifications are made to the bill, the bill will be advertised for four weeks before going through the standard process at the legislature.

Martin said he will sponsor the bill, which was requested by commissioners.

For more from Monday’s meeting, check a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser or