Statewide alcohol issue gains steam

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin announced Wednesday that the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow retail alcohol sales statewide, has met the initial signature count requirement.

The amendment needed 78,133 signatures to appear on the November general election ballot.

The initial count performed by the Secretary of State's office reportedly exceeded 84,000. The office now will move to the signature verification process to determine how many of the signatures are those of registered voters.

Meeting the initial count qualifies the petition sponsor to an additional 30 days to collect signatures, allowing time to compensate for any that may be disqualified during the signature verification process.

A proposed initiative to increase the Arkansas minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 is still undergoing its initial count of signatures. The initiative needs 62,507 signatures and backers said they gathered more than 77,000 signatures. The Secretary of State's office is currently working to verify that there are that many individual signatures.