The number of days one can buy beer and alcohol in rural areas of Barton County remains the same, but the number of hours they can be bought on Sundays got a little shorter following action by the County Commission Monday morning.
Responding to changes made by the Kansas Legislature this year, commissioners on June 21 changed the hours such sales may be allowed from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., up from the previous noon to 8 p.m. hours. However, This Monday, a revised resolution was approved setting those hours to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
County Counselor Patrick Hoffman said there was just an oversight in interpreting the new state statute. It requires sales to cease at 8 p.m. on Sundays, requiring this corrective resolution.
The updated resolution doesn’t impact other days of the week and will still allow sales on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, which were previously banned. This refers to retail sales of alcoholic beverages sold in their original containers.
County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said the resolution will again be published once, within two weeks after its adoption, in the Great Bend Tribune. The resolution shall take effect 61 days after publication, unless a sufficient petition for a referendum is filed, requiring a vote on the new resolution, in which case it would become effective upon approval by a majority of the electors.
A petition would have to include the valid signatures of 5 percent of the registered voters in the impacted area who voted in the last presidential election, Zimmerman said.
According to state law, the commission “shall call” a special election within 45 days of when the petition is filed, unless there is a general election within that time frame, which there is not.
During the 2021 legislative session, the Legislature passed amendments to the liquor control, club and drinking establishment, cereal malt beverage and liquor enforcement acts, County Counselor Hoffman said, referring to the adoption of House Bill 2137 that expanded Sunday sales of alcoholic liquor.
The issue was brought to the county’s attention by the owners of The Outer Limits. Located just north of Great Bend, it is the only liquor store in the unincorporated area of the county.
Prior to Nov. 30, 2015, no one could sell alcoholic liquor or cereal malt beverages in the original package on Sundays outside city limits. The 2015 resolution authorized such sales on any Sunday, except Easter, between the hours of noon and 8 p.m. in the rural area of the County.
The noon to 8 p.m. hours had been in place since November 2015.