Buy Local First responds to Stand Strong for Tyler

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 2:13pm

Buy Local First released the following statement to KETK in response to "Stand Strong for Tyler's" request for pro-alcohol signatures:

The Texas Election Code states:

"Sec. 501.031. VERIFICATION OF PETITION. (a) The voter registrar of the county (city) shall check the names of the signers of petitions and the voting precincts in which the signers reside to determine whether the signers were qualified voters of . . .municipality at the time the petition was issued."

"Sec. 501.032. REQUIREMENTS TO ORDER ELECTION. (a) The commissioners court (city council), at its next regular session on or after the 30th day after the date the petition is filed, shall order a local option election to be held on the issue set out in the petition if the petition is filed with the voter registrar not later than the 60th day after the date the petition
is issued . . ."

The law is very clear, there are ministerial duties that are required under state law as to who is required to certify the signatures and when the election must be ordered. Neither the City Secretary nor the City Council can suspend state law.

The Buy Local First! committee turned in its signed petitions on June 21 for verification by City of Tyler and Smith County officials. This was within the required 60 days after the petitions were issued. In order to call an election, state law required the group to collect approximately 7,800 signatures of City of Tyler registered voters and 6,700 signatures of voters in Justice Precinct 2, which includes southwestern Tyler, Flint and Bullard. The valid signatures collected totaled approximately 9,100 for the City of Tyler and approximately 7,100 for JP-2.

"We know that the City of Tyler will do its due diligence to review the thousands of signatures we provided within the time allowed by law," said Bob Westbrook, chairman of Buy Local First! "Our goal was, and has always been, to put this issue before the voters in November to let them decide if this is something they want in Tyler. Clearly, the number of signatures gathered shows the community is ready to put this issue to a vote."

The group asked voters to sign petitions calling for an election to allow:
• “the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption only.” By state law this will only allow beer and wine sold in places like grocery and convenience stores. This law will not allow packaged liquor sales.
• “the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only” This version was overwhelmingly approved by City of Tyler voters in 2008. The current effort will expand sales to those areas annexed after the 2008 election and in all of JP 2.

This effort does NOT include liquor sales.


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