ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A proposed liquor law change long bottled up at Minnesota’s Capitol inched ahead Wednesday when a Senate committee voted to permit booze sales in stores on Sundays and all holidays.

By an 8-7 vote, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection endorsed the bill scrapping the current Sunday sales ban, leaving it one committee stop from the floor and marking a rare step forward for a proposal that usually goes nowhere.

But the measure faces a tough path given resistance from the state’s dominant liquor lobby, a truckers’ union and an influential family values group. The House hasn’t given a hearing to a companion bill.

Duluth Sen. Roger Reinert, a Democrat, sold his proposal as a way to provide more convenience to customers and possibly steer extra tax money to a cash-strapped state treasury, although estimates on the financial benefit vary wildly. All of Minnesota’s neighbors let stores operate on Sundays.

“It’s really interesting to note that at the foot of every bridge leading from Minnesota to Wisconsin is a liquor store. That doesn’t just happen — that’s the marketplace telling us something,” Reinert said. “What it’s telling us is a lot of Minnesotans want to make purchases on Sundays.”

The bill not only permits Sunday sales but also lifts restrictions on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Minnesota isn’t alone in its reexamination of a so-called blue law. Georgia’s Senate voted Wednesday to approve legislation allowing local communities to hold referenda on Sunday alcohol sales.

Before its vote, the Minnesota committee took testimony from a few store owners who said they would welcome the change and just as many who said it would add to overhead costs with only negligible upticks in sales. The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association is opposed.

“The fact is we can smell a rat and the rat is: There is no money here. This is not going to be a winner for us,” said France 44 Wine and Spirits owner Rick Anderson, a board member of the beverage association.

He and other liquor store operators expect the change to mean sales made over six days now would be spread over seven. While opening on Sunday would be voluntary, they said they would feel competitive pressure to add a day.

A Teamsters representative said the labor union’s members fear they would be called on to make Sunday deliveries, and the Minnesota Family Council president said there social costs to expanded access to alcohol.

The committee’s vote crossed party lines.

John Wolfe, who runs Chicago Lake Liquors in Minneapolis, broke from the liquor industry trade group in pushing to dump the law he called “archaic.” Bars can serve drinks on Sundays, he noted.

“It is illogical for a society hell-bent on reducing drunk driving to tell its citizens they can have a drink on Sunday but they have to drive somewhere to buy it and consume it before driving home,” Wolfe said. “People who want to drink on Sundays are going to do so.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (34)
  1. St Paul says:

    I’m for anything that brings more tax dollars in. Not so sure about the DUI side effects though. Tough decision. Please folks drive responsibily always!!!

    1. Wesly says:

      Careful how you phrase things, the anti tax people get kind of nasty.

  2. married to the truth says:

    This story about opposition is kinda like santa. No such thing! What is there to oppose? If you are a business owner and you do not want to work sundays, nobody said you have to! And as far as the “extra costs” BS! If you don’t want to make MORE money then sell your business and work shining shoes. Is there really people that honestly think sunday liquor sales are bad?? It makes no sense to me. And I am not a drinker either.

    1. Tim says:

      Exact thing I was thinking. Well put.

    2. the truth says:

      My wife is right. Added costs? BS! You think that because you are allowed to be open for business for one more day that you will lose money? Most other businesses seem to do fine being open for 7 days of the week.

    3. Sandi PIerce says:

      Working Sundays isn’t the issue. The liquor stores are afraid that if Sunday sales pass, it opens the door to other changes–like letting supermarkets sell wine and full-alcohol beer.They’ve beaten that proposal down again and again. It’s really convenient to be able to buy stuff for dinner and get wine to go with it all in one stop.

  3. Ralph says:

    How far are people driving to the border states to get alcohol?. If the liquor industry in Minnesota thought there was a profit in opening Sundays they would be all for it

    1. PatPaulsonCallsAgain says:

      It’ll cost ’em. They know have to work 7 to get what they had before in 6.
      The few winners will be the Stillwaters that lost the boating and sled traffic to WI.
      I used to own (part owner) a club in Shakopee. Both on-off sale. Opening each end will mean a new profit on one and decrease on the other side. That’s why most are against this – it makes no sense to work more, pay more in wages and insurance and utilities and receive the same.
      Look at the parties and areas that are pushing this bill – the answer lies firmly there and is pretty transparent I think. For 90% of us this will be a negative. We don’t count.
      If we really desire to say it’s acout tax revenue then let’s look at Amsterdam and what can be done to generate it. And please do not try to say this stuff is any different than the alcohol issue in MN. Thanks 😉

  4. K-Rod says:

    This change does not force a store to be open on Sundays.
    But additional sales will not be realized; the decrease in Saturday’s sales will nearly offset Sunday’s sales.

    Sunday’s ‘what wine with dinner’ decision can be made on Sunday!

  5. jon says:

    Why don’t they change it so you can buy a car on Sunday as well?

    1. tanya needs an answer says:

      and a ho to go

  6. SAS says:

    Opening on Sundays will prevent the 9:45 half-drunk dash to the liqour store for many people. I am sure that not being open on Sundays does not deter people from drinking on Sundays, it only prompts them to drive drunk on Saturday night.

    1. Yikes - bad policy says:

      “Opening on Sundays will prevent the 9:45 half-drunk dash to the liqour store for many people.”

      And add to the Sunday night dash too.
      You make the case for why not to open Sunday. If a person has such an issue they drive half drunk at the last minute to get their Sunday fix they have no control and likely are a drunk.
      I’m still not sure why we don’t just legalize crack too. I bet on a whole booze destroys more families than crack every will if it remains illegal. They both legal – that’d be something to see.
      Hey MN – yu missing a lot of tax dollars here. Legailze dope too. And 24 x 7 x 365 booze sales

      Go Red Eyed Gophers ! lmfao

      1. What's so bad about it? Really? says:

        You miss the point….
        The reason a Saturday night dash exists is because its not open Sundays! Drinking Saturday night means you might run out for the big game or whatever on Sunday, and want some for entertaining. This conversation has nothing to do with legalizing crack, the slippery slope argument is silly. It is also not true that people driving on a saturday to get some alcohol on Saturday night for Sunday have no control and are “a drunk”, this type of statement leads me to believe you do not understand why people do this. Why shouldn’t I be able to buy a brick on a Sunday? How about a head of lettuce? How about Gas? If one needed these for Sunday, why not allow them to legally attain it? Oh that’s right, we already do! Because we are a free trade society. We can’t prevent people driving drunk, but at least we give them an extra option, I know people who have driven over an hour to Wisconsin to get beer for a Vikings game! Also, what is so special about Sunday? Why should you be able to buy alcohol on Mon-Sat on not Sunday? Because of the old lingering religious views, all other states around us have already adopted this way of thinking… We are behind the times.

  7. eeguy says:

    I think the REAL reason liquor stores are opposed to Sunday sales is because it would help open the door to grocery stores and gas stations selling something other than 3.2 beer, thus cutting into their profits.

  8. jc's a luvin' it says:

    Hiccup …. my brain needs a day to sober up. now I got anudder decision to make. see my kid or get buzzed.
    buzzed wins. yippee

  9. Doug Turner says:

    no kidding – 2011 comes to minnesota – FINALLY, And now lets allow grocery stores to sell beer, wine and liquor and really update the backwaters.
    ( I mean municipal stores are still around?? And The liquor association monopoly must end – its the real world )

    Its about adults making adult decisions – why is the state deciding on where or when we can purchase?

  10. Robert says:

    Why don’t they already? If Minnesota is worried people will drink more on Sunday they are mistaken. If people what it bad enough they will go to a bar, drive out of state or worse buying it from boot leggers ( don’t hide your head in the sand, it is going on now ) As far as holidays if you want to ban it on holidays go ahead either way I think its time for Minnesota to stop acting like you are protecting every one from the evil of drinking. If I want to buy beer on Sunday I should have a choice. Would you rather someone drink at home on Sunday or gets behind the wheel from a bar that over served. WAKE UP Minnesota your 153 years old, it’s time to grow up and move on! Its a dumb law in the first place.

  11. eeguy says:

    I like to remove all those guys from the equation and homebrew, but man it sure would be nice to be able to buy a nice bottle of wine at the grocery store when you’re shopping for Sunday dinner.

  12. Grizz says:

    One request from me to attach to this bill and I’ll buy into this Sunday thing totally.

    Change the laws regarding DWI-DUI to a MANDATORY 1 year prison on first conviction. The whole book if an injury is involved.
    You also reimburse the taxpayers for the cost of imprisonment – I believe I have heard $43000 a year for Stillwater covers all. No fines – just the cost.

    You folks who state you drink socially and see no harm and feel you will drink at home only and not drive I assume would be on board with this. (?)
    If one is not then I have an issue with it.
    My family and friends are out on the weekends enjoying time together. You have no right potentially harming them by your actions so don’t.
    Fair enough – right???

    1. Waldo oh Waldo says:

      with you all the way on this.
      bet they could get an attachment tied to it if they had the noodles to do so. prolly not as they may have a dwi themselves in the past. lol

      1. NRA Member says:

        Works for me too.
        No problem with anyone of age who drinks responsibl y here – the drunks on the roads or at events I do have an issue with. At home – all yours baby, all yours. 🙂

  13. Jonathan says:

    It is not 1933 (the year prohibition was repealed) anymore. You have to ask yourself… Why are liquor stores closed on Sunday in mn? If participate in Sunday as a sabbath day, than you can continue to do so unaffected. No one will force you to buy alcohol and drink it. A store selling alcohol on Sunday does not mean that people will be out drinking and driving anymore than the other six days of the week. Bars are open Sundays! Minnesota is just afraid to get rid of the artificial Saturday demand. It would probably help to curb binge drinking and if anything make the roads safer to open liquor stores on Sunday. Close walmart on Sundays to help out small and local businesses instead!

  14. Jake says:

    From what I’ve heard, the amount of revenue brought in by border states selling, has been in the millions on Sundays. Why not take advantage of these tax dollars?? If mom and pop liquor stores want to stay closed, so be it. The people against it are small timers who dont want their monday business to go down, because people bought it Sunday. They want the best of both worlds.

    1. Thomas gets it says:

      Jake – gotta say that’s more like the total annual revenue of the places for more likely 12 months. Pure bullchip but whats new when the sources are politicians.
      If it was the cats meow and so ficken profitable the sellers on this side would have benn begging for years to have it. They didn’t – small special interests that desire.

      That said I could care less. What I do want, and it seems others do too, is ZERO TOLERANCE for drunk drivers. That won’t happen as the state wants money more than lifes saved. Slippery slope – until one of their loved ones gets killed. Then the thing will happen.
      People can drink themselves to death as far as I am concerned as long as it costs me nothing. They get in my way or cause me harm and some will also attest I have zero mercy.
      I am a drunk – 26 years sober. I don’t tolerate them or it.

  15. zee the reporter says:

    pass it pass it the state needs the tax! zee reports!

  16. Goob says:

    To save their jobs, they’ll have casinos before long. Whatever they bring in as far as more revenue, will get spent in the blink of an eye.

  17. Always in favor of less government says:

    Lift the restriction, do we really want the government to tell us on what day we can purchase certain items that are legal or open our doors for business? As for the business owners… this is what most of us want, less government telling us what we can and can’t do in our own businesses! Stop whining and brush off your entrepreneurial spirit and figure out how to make more money off this!

  18. Jason says:

    I guess Minnesota can continue to lose tax revenue to Wisconsin every Sunday.

  19. swerver says:

    You have 2 be 1 serious rearend to not want this as an owner , um liquor store employees are paid an average of $9-10 an hour… end of story, and to the donk who said only stillwater stores gain makes no sense, stores in places like shakopee will make the money u know many sundays we went to bar ebcause the liquor store wasnt open, if anything it hurts bars, i hope theres 1 liquor store owner on here that wanted no sales on sunday thats y ur losing money, u cant realize the money u can make stump

  20. Scary Phailin says:

    “…just as many who said it would add to overhead costs with only negligible upticks in sales. The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association is opposed.”

    “The fact is we can smell a rat and the rat is: There is no money here. ”

    Duh!…If there is no money to be made on Sunday…DON’T OPEN!!!
    If there is no money to be made on Sunday, your competitor up the street isn’t going to make any money either!!! You stay closed, laugh at your competitor for being open!

    It ain’t rocket science here folks!!!!!!!

  21. chosworth49 says:

    F 3.2 beer!!!!!!!

  22. Courteney says:

    I can’t believe this is even an issue. Legalize alcohol sales to any day of the week and at all times. How come people can drink at the bar later then they can buy it in the store? It doesn’t make any sense to make people sit at a bar to drink and then drive home when they would prefer to buy it, take it home, and then drink. No drinking and driving involved if more people did that.

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