Johnson County Ballot Question

The ballot for Johnson County voters this year has a ballot question. It reads:

Shall the following be adopted?

Shall sale of alcoholic liquor by the individual drink in Johnson County be allowed in public places without a requirement that any portion of their gross receipts be from sales of food?

A “YES” vote would repeal the food sales requirement.

A “NO” vote would maintain the food sales requirement.



In 1986 Kansas voters adopted an amendment to the Kansas Constitution allowing for the sale of “liquor-by-the-drink” (on-premises sales of individual alcoholic beverages in breweries, distilleries, bars, restaurants, and wineries) only in counties where voters approved it (known as “wet” counties) and only in establishments that maintain at least 30% of their gross sales receipts from the sale of food.

This 30% food sales requirement may, however, be repealed by a majority of county voters.

Johnson County – the state’s largest – is the only urban county in the state that still retains the 30% food sales requirement. Douglas, Sedgwick, Shawnee, Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties have repealed the requirement, as have other counties. In all, 35 of the state’s 105 counties have eliminated the food sales requirement.

Missouri allows sales of liquor-by-the-drink throughout the state, without limitations or requirements except for hours when sales are permitted.

Supporters of repealing the food sales requirement argue it is outdated and archaic, adds a significant operational worry for impacted establishments, and creates a competitive disadvantage for Johnson County in attracting these businesses. 

Opponents of repealing the food sales requirement say current law supports a family-friendly environment and promotes public safety.

The ballot question would not alter operating hours or other regulations.


To view a Kansas liquor-by-the-drink map, click here.  For more background, the Kansas City Star covered the issue here