ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A Prohibition-era ban on Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota may soon be coming to an end.
The Minnesota Senate joined the House Monday, voting to repeal the ban.
Minnesota’s one of only 12 states that don’t allow liquor stores to open on Sunday, and lawmakers say consumers expect to buy on Sunday whatever they want.
“We’ve been hearing loud and clear from our constituents that it’s time to get this done!” said Sen. Jeremy Miller, (R) Winona, who authored the repeal.
The Legislature is repealing the Sunday liquor store ban which was enacted in 1935, around the same time Prohibition ended.
Supporters said it removes government from telling businesses what to do.
“And I think on the moral question, our society has already answered that question,” said Sen. Matt Little, (DFL) Lakeville, “which is: drinking on Sunday is OK.”
But critics predict Sunday sales mean “big box” liquor stores will move to rural areas, crushing mom and pop stores and what’s left of their shattered economy.
“And in its place on our little Main Street are a whole bunch of empty lots and a bunch of empty storefronts,” said Sen. Tom Bakk, the DFL minority leader. “All across Minnesota, the big boxes and the regional centers are changing our little rural communities, and they will never be the same again.”
Some lawmakers oppose Sunday sales because they said the day should be set aside for Christian services.
And several questioned why anyone would need to buy a bottle that badly.
“If they really really, really, really do need alcohol, well then they can go down to the bar and have a drink, or maybe they should go see a doctor,” said Sen. David Tomassoni, (DFL) Chisolm.
If it gets final approval, the bill goes into effect July 1 and allows liquor stores to open Sundays until 6 p.m.