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Minnesota Legislature

Expansion of U stadium liquor sales

Published (5/1/2009)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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For the University of Minnesota, it may be all or nothing when it comes to liquor sales at TCF Bank Stadium that is scheduled to open this fall.

An amendment was successfully tacked onto HF1476, the omnibus liquor bill, during floor discussion April 29 that would require the university to change its plans to allow liquor purchases only in the premium seating area and suites.

Offered by Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL-North St. Paul), the amendment says that a liquor license can be issued only if sales are allowed throughout the stadium. “It should be all or nothing; you can’t just have a situation that applies only in the luxury suites. If you’re not in a luxury suite you can’t have a beer?”

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Mpls) said the amendment would make alcohol more easily accessible to underage college students. She added that the Big 10 Conference has rules that apply to university-owned stadiums regarding alcohol use, and this amendment would most likely prohibit any sale of alcoholic beverages in the facility.

Rep. Loren Solberg (DFL-Grand Rapids) countered that the Gophers have been playing in the Metrodome for 26 years where alcohol sales are permitted in all seating areas.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights), is a catch-all for the various liquor-related bills that have been laid over by the House Commerce and Labor Committee. Passed 124-10 by the House, it now goes to the Senate where Sen. Linda Scheid (DFL-Brooklyn Park) is its sponsor.

The bill also addresses an issue Augsburg College in Minneapolis has regarding alcohol consumption by permitting the city to issue an on-sale license. The college has been serving alcohol at selected alumnae events over the years, but found out recently that it didn’t have a license to do so.

The bill also provides for consideration of liquor license by issuing authorities for:

• the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for intercollegiate hockey games;

• the Best Western 8 Superior Inn and Suites and East Bay Suites in Grand Marais; and

• private convention centers outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area.

The bill also allows for extended on-sale liquor hours at the Humphrey and Lindbergh airport terminals; would allow license holders selling wine to hold wine-tasting events; and adds a device designed to ensure safe storage and monitoring of alcohol in the home to the list of items that can be sold by liquor stores.

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