It’s the collective, “It’s about damn time,” heard around the entire region as today, Minnesota’s state Senate voted to repeal the ban that kept area liquor stores from being open on the seventh day of the week.
The Monday vote of 38 to 28 means that it will now be up to the liquor store’s individual owners to set their own hours of sale pertaining to which days they will choose to open their doors. This follows several previous years of unsuccessful attempts to lift the ban. Lobbyists on behalf of the liquor industry and store owners had fought to keep the ban in place for years, but a new grassroots movement, led by Why Not Sundays rallied consumers to pressure lawmakers into finally voting down the ban.
Sunday liquor sales are one of the few remaining “blue laws” on the books in the state. These religious-led regulations bar all types of business from taking place on Sundays. In our state that means consumers are not allowed to buy anything stronger than 3.2 beer or purchase a car on Sundays. Until now, Minnesota was one of just twelve states that continued to bar alcohol sales on Christian sabbath day, which has created a boom in business one day a week for liquor stores just over the border in nearby Wisconsin.
Up next, legislators need to agree on when those stores can open for business. The House version of the Sunday sales bill says that stores may open at 10:00 a.m. while the Senate stipulates an 11:00 a.m. opening time. Now the the bills will have to go to a committee and return for a re-vote with a matching start time.
When the bill reaches his desk, Governor Dayton has indicated that he will sign it into law.