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Arkansas senators OK bill to allow alcohol outside establishments in areas like Little Rock's River Market

April 4, 2019 at 4:30 a.m.

A bill to allow alcoholic beverages to be carried outside drinking establishments, as long as they are in an entertainment district, moved one step closer to becoming law Wednesday after the Senate voted to approve the measure.

Senate Bill 492 by Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, defines an entertainment district as a commercially zoned contiguous area located in part of a city that contains bars, restaurants, dance clubs and other venues -- such as the River Market in downtown Little Rock.

The measure, which previously passed the House, passed the Senate with an 18-12 vote.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

SB492 now heads to the governor's desk.

The bill also adds that the "entertainment district" can be a temporary exhibit and that the rules of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control must still be followed.

The local government would be required to set reasonable standards for the regulation of alcohol possession within the boundaries of the district.

-- Jeannie Roberts

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