- Associated Press - Sunday, January 4, 2015

PITTSBORO, Miss. (AP) - Although about 70 percent of Pittsboro’s voters approved beer and liquor sales, the state legislature will have to decide whether stores there can sell beer.

Shortly after the Dec. 2 election, the Mississippi Department of Revenue ruled that the beer vote was illegal.

The city of 200 is too small to qualify for a beer referendum, even though county seats were exempted from a population requirement for liquor referendums, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (https://bit.ly/1w5hQPz) reported.

“When we passed that law two years ago, I thought it was for both beer and liquor,” said state Sen. Russell Jolly, of Houston, whose district includes Pittsboro.

The law lets county seats of any size and other cities with at least 5,000 residents hold liquor referendums. Beer referendums are allowed in cities of more than 2,500, but county seats got left out.

Legislators meant to include both, said state Rep. Steve Holland of Plantersville. He said he hates learning that happened, “but oftentimes in the process of passing laws, it works out that something gets left out.”

Thirty-five county seats with populations under 2,500 could be affected by the beer omission. Fourteen are in dry counties and 21 in wet counties.

Mayor Reda Bullard said Pittsboro will do what it must to follow voters’ will. That probably will mean changing the state law so another referendum can be held, official said.

Jolly voted against the 2012 local option law but said he would introduce a revision the mayor and board ask him.

“If everybody was on board, I would be happy to introduce something to the legislature,” Jolly said.

The Mississippi Legislature’s 2015 session convenes at noon Tuesday and will end April 5.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, https://djournal.com

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