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Sunday off-sale liquor supporters state their case

The political winds have aligned for off-sale Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota, according to two legislators who look to have the post-prohibition era Blue Law overturned.

Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie) and Sen. Roger Reinert (DFL-Duluth) sponsor HF231 and SF265, respectively, that would allow for off-sale Sunday alcohol sales in Minnesota.

Reinert’s bill would also allow liquor to be sold on an off-sale basis on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and after 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

During a Thursday press conference, Loon and Reinert said that they have previously partnered to move the issue incrementally, but it was time for one bill that would address Sunday sales directly.

Loon’s bill awaits action by the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee; Reinert’s awaits action by the Senate Commerce Committee.

Tamra Kramer, owner of Vom Fass at the Mall of America, explains at a Thursday news conference why she supports a bill to allow Sunday liquor sales. Bill sponsors Rep. Jenifer Loon and Sen. Roger Reinert are in the background. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Loon said the measure has the support of House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown), and the governor has indicated his willingness to consider a bipartisan bill. “People know it’s just a matter of time when this is to happen, and the political landscape has changed.”

Several liquor retailers dispelled critics who say “mom and pop” stores are against Sunday openings.

Tamra Kramer owns a boutique liquor store in the Mall of America, where she sells hard-to-find expensive liquors. She said a good percentage of her customers are visitors to the Twin Cities metropolitan area. “On Sundays, we see customers gaze through the windows of the locked liquor store and often question why that portion of the store is not open.”

She estimates that her sales would increase by $100,000 annually if she was able to sell liquor on Sundays.

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