Woodall will hear legal arguments for and against the petition and a precinct-wide election at hearing that will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday in the Circuit Courtroom in the Trigg County Justice Center.
Briefs have been filed by Benton resident Donald E. Thomas on the side of those who want the election, by W. E. Rogers III on the side of Grow Trigg, and by Trigg County H.B. Quinn, who is representing the county.
Thomas cited the Kentucky Supreme Court case Campbell v. Brewer from 1994. He said that in that particular case, the court upheld that it is legal for an individual precinct to have a new vote prior to the three years after the election.
“The issue the Court had before them in the above-mentioned case was whether the voters of an individual precinct of a county not containing a city of the fourth class has the right to a local option vote for their individual precinct,” Thomas wrote.
Rogers, on the other hand, said it was “clear that such an election is not authorized by law,” as Kentucky law states that there can be no local option elections held in the same territory more than once every three years.
After the Campbell v. Brewer decision, changes were made in the relevant laws, and as a result there is no longer any legislative definition of territory, whereas it had previously meant a county, city, precinct or district, said Rogers.
As a result, Rogers continued, as a precinct is in the county and isn’t a separate entity, it doesn’t have any basis to stand alone, and additionally it has no government and there isn’t any reason to give it any power or authority when it comes to the sale of alcohol.
Since Trigg County voted to repeal prohibition in the Sept. 29 special election last year, and as the county has adopted taxes on alcohol that are supposed to help the whole county, it would be unfair for a precinct or precincts to benefit from those taxes without contributing to that tax revenue, Rogers said, adding that it would also be unconstitutional.
“For this court to hold that an election may be held in the Montgomery precinct, some statutory authority must be held,” said Quinn.