Phil Bryant’s signature went on House Bill 1321 on Monday. It gives municipalities of at least 1,500 population and located within 3 miles of a city or county that permits beer sales the authority to set a special election on sale of the beverages. The law previously required a minimum population of 2,500.
Citizens would need to present a petition signed by 20 percent of the qualified voters to force an election, and a vote of 60 percent in favor is required to pass.
The change in law is apparently designed to benefit primarily Coldwater in northwest Mississippi.
“They called this the ‘Coldwater bill,’ " said Farmington Mayor Dale Fortenberry. “This was put in by a senator on the west side of the state that represents part of Tate County.”
Fortenberry was at the capitol two weeks ago when the bill came out of committee, and he was surprised to learn it includes just a few towns.
“There are a lot of them that are within 3 miles, but they don’t have the 1,500 population,” he said.
The mayor of Alcorn County’s second-largest municipality doesn’t know if beer would pass in the city or not. There are no more than two businesses that could sell it — a convenience store and Dollar General — if they chose to do so.
Farmington’s population was 2,186 in the 2010 census.