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Expanded county Sunday liquor sales resolution OKed
Longer hours now subject to public protest
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Increased hours one can buy beer and alcohol in rural areas of Barton County may be allowed following action by the County Commission Monday morning. Responding to changes made by the Kansas Legislature this year, such sales may be allowed from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., up from the previous noon to 8 p.m. hours approved for the county in November 2015.

The updated resolution would also 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. 

However, this is not a done deal.

County Clerk Donna Zimmerman said the resolution will 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” 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.

About the change

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 Patrick 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.

“We need to let businesses do what they need to do,” said District 3 Commissioner Shawn Hutchinson, supporting the measure. “If somebody wants to make a bad example of themselves, that’s on them.”

“I’m just interested in how long it will take the City of Great Bend to follow suit,” District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said. The city formally adopted its Sunday sales ordinance in October 2016 with the noon to 8 p.m. hours.

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 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.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Approved a resolution authorizing and expanding hours of Sunday sales of alcoholic liquor and cereal malt beverage in the original package within the unincorporated areas of Barton County. This also rescinds a resolution adopted in November 2015.

• Reappointed Gloria Bogan, representing a “general” position, to the Central Kansas Community Corrections Advisory Board with a term expiring June 2023.

Under the leadership of CKCC Director Amy Boxberger, the board designs, implements and evaluates community-based corrections programs for eligible offenders who would otherwise be incarcerated in state prisons or local jails. Oversight includes the development of the annual Comprehensive Plan.  

• Discussed the commission’s meeting, at least through the budget season, twice a week. The idea was raised by District 3 Commissioner Shawn Hutchinson because of the large number of items on the commission’s plate, noting this would allow deeper and more fresh discussions.

The meetings would be announced public meetings with the public and media welcomed to attend.

• Continued budget discussions.