Archive for Saturday, November 29, 2003

Petition may cork Sunday liquor in Tongie

November 29, 2003


— Attempts to allow Sunday liquor sales in this Leavenworth County town have hit a snag.

Earlier this week, five Tonganoxie residents presented city officials with a 93-signature petition aimed at putting Sunday sales on a citywide ballot.

"I'm against Sunday sales," said Marilyn Bundy, who helped circulate the protest petition. "I feel like Sunday is the Lord's day and it ought to be left that way."

City officials in September agreed to allow Sunday sales, but the decision was subject to a protest petition, which, with enough signatures, would put the question to a vote.

The Leavenworth County Clerk's Office is expected to uphold or reject the petition next week.

"We're waiting to see what happens," said Tonganoxie Mayor Dave Taylor. To force a vote, the petitioners need 48 signatures of registered Tonganoxie voters.

If the petition is upheld, city officials would have 30 days to conduct a special election. Otherwise, the initial decision is void.

"I can't say what we're going to do," Taylor said. "I'm not sure."

Leavenworth County Clerk Linda Scheer estimated an election would cost Tonganoxie about $1,500.

Corky Krouse owns Krouse's All Day Breakfast restaurant, which serves beer, and Krouse's Retail Liquor Store, one of two liquor stores in Tonganoxie. He doesn't have much use for the petition.

"The whole thing is a joke," he said. "They don't want people drinking on Sundays? Are you kidding? Get in your car Sunday and come to Tonganoxie. We got three restaurants that sell 3.2 beer with food and four places that'll sell you a drink."

Though opposed to the petitions, Krouse said he, too, wanted the city to drop the initiative.

"It's too much trouble," he said. "It's not going to make that much difference, and I don't think the city has that much money to spend."

Lawrence city commissioners approved Sunday sales earlier this year after Wyandotte County District Court in November 2002 ruled the state's Liquor Control Act did not apply uniformly to all communities. The ruling allowed cities to "opt out" of state laws restricting liquor sales by passing charter ordinances.

No one protested Lawrence's charter ordinance, allowing the initiative to take effect Sept. 28.

Atty. Gen. Phill Kline has appealed the Wyandotte County District Court ruling to the Kansas Supreme Court, which could reverse the decision. Justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments Dec. 8.

In January, legislators will consider several proposals aimed at reforming state restrictions on beer and liquor sales.

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