By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The issue of Sunday liquor sales is likely to come up again next year, with the new Republican majority in the state legislature.

Minnesota is one of only 12 states that require liquor stores to be closed on Sundays. And many Minnesota consumers cross the border to Wisconsin, where Sunday sales are legal.

Woodbury couple Marc and Angela Strickland tried to make grasshopper pie Sunday morning. However, they were missing key ingredients they couldn’t buy in Minnesota.

“Creme de menthe and creme de cocoa,” Angela said.

“Why shouldn’t I be able to buy it (in Minnesota) on a Sunday?” her husband Marc asked.

Minnesota law bans the sale of alcohol on Sunday, but repealing it is easier said than done. Numerous votes have failed after opposition from the powerful liquor industry.

State Representative Jennifer Loon says she won’t even try to end the statewide ban– but will introduce legislation next year allowing individual cities to vote on Sunday sales.

“Sunday is one of the busiest shopping days of the weekend,” said Loon, a Republican from Eden Prairie. “So, as people look at what they need to get done as consumers, a lot of them want that choice.”

Liquor retailers supporting a Sunday ban say it’s only one of many alcohol restrictions, including what days it can be sold, what time of day, where it can be bought, who can sell it and where it can be consumed.

But the Strickland’s Wisconsin run is a sign that times have changed, and they say lawmakers aren’t getting the message.

“If the people who they are supposed to be supporting are coming here, they obviously want to buy it on a Sunday,” said Marc Strickland. “Fix it.”

Paul Kaspszak, Executive Director of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association, issued the following statement:

Legislators seeking media coverage continue to advocate for Sunday Sales.

However, the majority of liquor stores in Minnesota continue to oppose this effort by asking the simple question “Convenience at What Cost?”

The suggestion that alcohol should be treated like other products fails to understand that alcohol is a controlled substance and not a commodity.

In Minnesota, regulations on the time, place and manner of the purchase and consumption of alcohol have resulted in a successful balance between the desires of consumers and public health and safety.

Passage of Sunday Sales legislation would disrupt this balance to the detriment of many.

Pat Kessler

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