PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Liquor bill veto so ridiculous, I need a drink

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Mississippi, I love you. But darn it, we are such a land of hypocrites – present company excepted, of course.
We go on and on about how we want good jobs for our people, good high-tech jobs of the future, we say.
Then, we won’t properly fund public education.
Oh, sure, we believe in “adequate” education, but our Legislature has funded it only once since its inception in the mid-1990s. And it’s likely to take a big, ole lawsuit to drag us into doing what folks need doing.
We are so reactive, not pro-active.
Now, the hypocrisy of alcohol has risen its ugly head again.
Of course, we are notorious for doing as we do, not as we say – well, some of us. Well, a lot of us.
I used to live in Rankin County, one of the state’s fast-growing areas and legally one of the state’s driest for liquor, although it’s got beer in a few places.
Mind you, some very fine people in Rankin County do not imbibe. And some very fine people do, which means they are driving their weekly supply into their home-dry county.
Years ago, my sainted mother came to baby-sit the kids when I went on some kind of trip. She forgot to bring her jug of red wine and so she asked her granddaughter, “Margaret, where is the liquor store?”
Poor child had no idea where it was because we didn’t have any in Rankin County. My mother threatened never again, without my stocking up.
But therein lies the wrong. We weren’t supposed to have liquor in Rankin County, but a lot of folks did and do.
Now, here comes Gov. Phil Bryant, who knows a thing of two about Rankin County. I think he was a deputy sheriff there or something.
He’s vetoed legislation that would have made it OK to transport liquor from a wet county through a dry county to get to another wet one.
That’s like taking a jug of Bloody Marys from Tupelo to a morning football game on the Ole Miss campus in Lafayette County. You gotta go through Pontotoc County, which is dry.
“Too confusing,” Bryant stated when he tossed the legislation into the dead-bill bin.
It’s too confusing because Mr. Bryant probably led a very clean life and never transported alcohol home from Hinds County. For the thousands who do it every day, it’s a snap. Crystal clear. Illegal, but crystal clear. Forget icing up that wine/beer if you’re going through dry territories.
Same goes for the Bulldogs. Driving from Tupelo to Starkville for a big day at The Junction.
We’re always hearing about liquor stores and beer stores fighting the pro-alcohol forces in dry counties so the active stores can keep all the business.
In a situation such as this, the potentially spirit-filled now must fill up in the county where the drinking will occur. A boon for Lafayette and Oktibbeha.
While it may just be a misdemeanor to possess liquor, wine or beer in a dry county, the fines range from $100 to $500, which feels felonious to me.
There may yet be a reprieve from this silliness, though. Next year, the Legislature can try to override the veto.
But I’m not putting any of my beer money on that, though.
PATSY R. BRUMFIELD writes a Thursday column. Contact her at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.