MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was last call Tuesday at the Minnesota State Capitol for Sunday liquor store sales.

The Minnesota House defeated Sunday sales, shutting down the effort for another year. The Senate defeated a similar measure two weeks ago.

Minnesota is one of only 12 states that doesn’t open liquor stores on Sunday, a law that’s been on the books for 80 years.

Supporters of ending the ban argued local cities should be able to decide for themselves, calling it a free-market issue.

“This is not about saying every community has to have their liquor stores open on Sunday, or that any store has to open on Sunday,” Rep. Jennifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, said. “This is about choices.”

But some lawmakers called Sunday sales a gift to big box liquor stores moving into rural areas and undercutting prices at smaller local operations.

“To me, this looks like an all-out assault on mom-and-pop liquor stores,” Rep. John Considine Jr., DFL-Mankato, said. “They will incur an additional 52 days a year of overhead with almost no appreciable increase in revenue.”

The House voted to relax other liquor laws and added others — allowing restaurants to serve alcohol on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. instead of 10 a.m., permitting Sunday sales of beer growlers at craft breweries and brew pubs and banning the sales of powdered alcohol for one year.

Even though the Sunday liquor sales bill was defeated by both the House and the Senate this year, it remains popular — and supporters vowed to bring it back again.

“Banning alcohol sales on Sundays, which our current law does, makes about as much senses as banning the sale of chickens on Mondays, gas on Tuesdays or shoes on Wednesdays,” Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, said.

All of the states around Minnesota allow Sunday liquor store sales. And although it failed Tuesday, it came much closer than it was just two years ago.

Fifty-seven lawmakers voted in favor of it this year. In 2013, only 21 lawmakers voted yes.

Pat Kessler

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