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Minnesota Legislature

Legislative News and Views - Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R)

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THIS MAY BE THE YEAR TO PASS SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES BILL

Monday, January 16, 2017

 

Have you ever driven to the liquor store to buy a 12-pack of beer on a Sunday afternoon only to be met with a locked door and a “Closed” sign?

 

The reason for this nonsense is an antiquated 80 year old state law that prohibits alcohol from being sold in stores on Sundays.

 

If you’ve ever had a friend or relative from another state visit and you tell them about this foolishness, particularly on a Saturday night, you can almost predict the look of bafflement that’s soon to come across their face.

 

“That’s right, we have to buy a bottle of wine tonight because our state government thinks it’s in our best interest to withhold the freedom of buying a perfectly legal product on a Sunday.”

 

I’ve offered legislation allowing Sunday liquor sales ever since my arrival in the Minnesota House. Slowly but surely we’ve made progress towards a repeal, both in the Legislature and with public opinion.

 

Basically the ban continues thanks to big business special interests and big unions, whose well-funded lobbying efforts are preventing you from buying beer on Sundays.

 

Once again this session, I will be offering a full repeal that would restore free market principles to Sunday alcohol sales. Not only will we be restoring a freedom, but we will also end the exportation of Minnesota commerce to Wisconsin and other neighboring states, as lost tax collections for Sunday alcohol sales are estimated at more than $10 million each biennium.

 

Governor Dayton has indicated he will sign the Sunday sales bill if it gets through the House and Senate, and for the first time I’m feeling optimistic about our chances in the House and am looking forward to the debate.

 

One last point: this repeal would not mandate liquor store owners to come to work on Sundays; it would simply give them the option. And judging by those I’ve spoken with in our district who continue to lose alcohol sales to Wisconsin, that’s all they want: the freedom to unlock their doors and hang an “Open” sign in their window any day of the week that they choose.