Burley Liquor Sales Ordinance (2009)
The Burley Liquor Sales Ordinance is a city council approved ordinance that allows the sale of liquor in Burley, Idaho on Sundays, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. The city council voted yes on the measure, with the final vote being a slim margin of 4-3 after six months of debate between supporters and critics.
Mayor Jon Anderson cast the deciding vote during the council meeting, showing his support for selling liquor in a town that already sold beer and wine on Sundays.
Tawnya Hale, manager of Nelson's Cafe and Pilot's Lounge, requested the change from the city last fall, which she said would allow the bar to compete equitably with others in the area.
Several meetings were held by the city council in order to allow citizens to give their point of view on the measure. Comments included God witholding moisture from crops, holy wars, police intervention, accusations of persecution from the religious community, and Biblical warnings against desecrating the Sabbath. One citizen, according to local reports, used a piece of petrified dinosaur dung to make his point about laws being archaic.
Path to the ballot
In May 2009, city council members decided to put the issue on the May 6, 2009 ballot, so as to let the voters of Burley decide. The council voted 4-2 to avoid the issue and place the ordinance on the ballot, thus allowing a popular vote to determine its fate. Idaho code allows cities, whether by council decision or popular vote, to establish the legal boundaries of liquor sales. Burley was one of the last municipalities in the state to prohibit sale by the drink on Sunday.
However, the council scrapped the idea of ballot placement two weeks prior to the vote. Instead, the council voted in favor of the ordinance that will now allow the sale of distilled spirites, by the drink, on Sundays and certain holidays.