By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It seems every year a proposal to allow Sunday liquor sales comes up at the Capitol, and every year it goes down in defeat.

But 2017 just might be the year it passes.

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One of the co-authors of this year’s bill is the powerful Minnesota House Speaker, Kurt Daudt.

Of course, the proposal will once again face stiff opposition from small mom-and-pop liquor stores, who say the proposal will hurt their bottom line.

But Daudt is among a number of prominent legislators who were opposed to Sunday sales in the past but have since changed their tune, saying it’s what most Minnesotans now want.

“It’s frankly something I think that is long overdue, so I have put the weight of my office behind it,” Daudt said.

House Minority leader Melissa Hortman, who has in the past voted against Sunday sales, is also feeling that Sunday sales are what the people want.

“I am regularly, if not daily, lobbied on this issue by my husband, so I am pretty open minded about getting it taken care of,” she said.

The proposal also gets a big thumbs up from big box retailer Total Wine, a spokesperson for the company tells WCCO-TV.

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“We are totally in favor because that is what our customers want,” the spokesperson said.

But opposition continues to come from small independent liquor stores, like Lowry Hill Liquors in Minneapolis.

“We don’t need Sunday sales,” owner Pat Keeler said. “We love being closed.”

Keeler’s family has owned the store for 30 years. He believes he will sell the same amount of liquor in seven days that he does in six. He added that if the bill passes his costs will rise because he will have to pay for staff to work Sundays.

He is not convinced consumers want the change.

“On Saturday they all come in, late Saturday here is really busy, so they buy for Sunday and they seem to be OK with that,” Keeler said.

In past years, independent liquor store owners have been able to convince legislators to vote against the measure.

Daudt says hearings on this issue will begin next week.

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Gov. Mark Dayton has not indicated if he is for or against Sunday sales, but he’s said that if the Legislature passes the measure he will sign it.

Esme Murphy