Repeal of Sunday liquor sale ban looks less likely



One of the most decisive issues at the State Legislator this session is the repeal of the Sunday liquor sales band. The 80-year-old blue law that prevents any liquor store from staying open on Sundays has been challenged in the last two sessions with no significant progress. Just like other businesses in the state, any liquor store would be allowed to stay open on Sundays if it so chooses as a result of the proposed bill.

Proponents argue that the bill is especially needed to prevent the hassle of driving elsewhere. Because every state surrounding Minnesota already allows liquor sales on Sunday, many people drive to a nearby state to purchase alcohol. Another argument supporters make is that the state loses an estimated 10.8 to 15.1 million dollars a year in alcohol sales tax revenue to other states.

Opponents of the bill argue that the repeal of the Sunday liquor ban would hurt liquor stores, as it would be spreading six days of sales over seven days of cost. They say that it would especially hurt small and local liquor stores, because they often have to deal with higher expenses than the chain stores.

While there has been no progress in past sessions, this year’s session looked more promising at the beginning. Proponents of the repeal were hopeful as bills were quickly introduced in both the House and Senate with bipartisan support. Additionally, both Speaker Daudt and Governor Dayton expressed support. Despite all of this support, however, the repeal is appearing to losing steam, because the bill is currently stuck in committee in both houses– the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee in the House and the Commerce Committee in the Senate—and both are currently being blocked by Joe Hoppe, and James Metzen, who are the respective chairmen.

Representative Hoppe and Senator Metzen have both denied the bill of a hearing in their respective committees, which lead the bill to miss the first deadline on March 20th. Sadly, this caused both bills to die in committee. Additionally, the bill did not make it into the omnibus liquor bill that Representative Hoppe complied and passed through the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee. The supporters of Sunday liquor sales’ only remaining option is to add an amendment to the omnibus bill, which wouldthen be put to a yes or no vote.

As it stands now, the prospects of removing the ban on Sunday liquor sales this session are looking bleak, but supporters have made large strides in comparison to previous sessions.