Minnesota Senate rejects Sunday liquor sales

The Minnesota Senate has voted to keep in place the state’s longtime ban on Sunday liquor sales.

During the debate Thursday on a larger liquor bill, senators defeated an amendment to lift the ban. The vote was 35-28. There was bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition.

Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, proposed the amendment to allow liquor stores the option of opening on Sundays.  Her proposal addressed a concern raised by the Teamsters Union by preventing deliveries to liquor stores on Sundays.

Kent said she sees no legitimate public policy purpose for continuing the ban on Sunday sales.

“I hear in my community, in Woodbury, repeatedly from business owners and from consumers that they are frustrated that sales and tax dollars go across the river to Hudson [Wisconsin] every single week,” Kent said.

Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, noted that the ban dates back to the 1930s, when “John Dillinger was public enemy number one.”

“The policy that this amendment repeals is an antiquated policy,” Nelson said. “It really doesn’t fit Minnesota today.”

Opponents of the amendment raised concerns about how the change would affect small liquor stores.

Sen David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, said main street liquor stores need a day off.

“The people that are working in these liquor stores are opposed to opening on Sundays, because they aren’t going to make any money,” Tomassoni said.

Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, said she was concerned about the potential financial impact on municipal liquors stores that help fund public projects in her rural district.

“If we allow Sunday liquor sales, that only cuts into the bottom line,” Rosen said.

Senators passed the larger liquor bill on 51-11 vote. It allows for small brewers and brew pubs to sell off-sale beer growlers on Sunday. There’s also a provision that allow bars and restaurants to begin serving drinks at 8 a.m. on Sundays.

The House has not yet voted on its omnibus liquor bill. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, recently guaranteed a Sunday sales amendment will come up, and he predicted it has a 50-50 chance of passage.

But the Senate vote adds another hurdle.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said after the floor session that the Senate has now taken a strong position against Sunday sales.

Bakk, who voted against the amendment, said that position will matter in negotiations with the House.

“In the event the House brings it to conference, I don’t expect the Senate would take it in conference after we’ve taken a vote against it,” Bakk said.

  • Jeff

    Find your representatives here: http://tinyurl.com/3wxh79t let them know what you think about the Sunday liquor sales vote today.

  • Jeff

    Here’s a list of who voted for and against the Sunday Liquor Sales bill in the MN Senate, separated out by political party in the against section:

    • SlapHappy

      Thank, Jeff!

    • wonderpigeon

      THANK YOU. Just sent my senator an angry email.

      • Jeff

        Glad to hear it, take action and let them know…one Senator said during the debates that he hadn’t heard any support for Sunday sales before the vote…yeah, I’m sure. Stay informed and make that change happen!

    • Also send thank you letters to the Senators who had the fortitude to serve the people and not the special interests.

      It’s absolutely ridiculous. If businesses don’t want to be open? No one is forcing them. And if the spoiled little brats at the Teamsters don’t want to drive? F’em. It’s 2015 kids — your “right not to work” is not our problem. I’m sure there are a ton of people willing to do it for you at half the price…

      If a liquor store gets stocked out? Guess what they’re going to do? Make a smarter order for Saturday delivery.

      I can’t tell if they are just being intellectually dishonest? Or if they really don’t understand cause and effect…

  • Jamison S.

    Can I get a law that says Information Technology workers don’t have to work on weekends or evenings? Since we’re protecting people’s right to have a day off….

  • The Nanny State ends here…

  • DeeMarie

    I wish the people who had all this passion about not being able getting their ‘drunk on’ on a Sunday would put that same energy into social/optical issues that matter. OMG I ran out of liquor on Saturday!! There was a person who loved to get sauced on Saturdays into Sundays and you know what happened? My 31 year old sister was killed on a Sunday morning by this drunk driver. But please proceed with all your comments and uproar of not being able to keep a full weekend buzz on when the beer tap runs dry in a Saturday night. Just go to a gas station on a Sunday get some 3/2 coronas and just drink more in order keep the ‘fun’ going in dysfunction..

    • Dano

      Sorry about your sister Dee, but what about her death is relevant in this sessions’ discussions on Sunday liquor sales? This has nothing to do with ‘being able to keep a full weekend buzz on’. Its about govt telling us when and how we can buy something that’s legal the other 6 days of the week. There are A LOT of people who work rotating schedules and the day of the week is totally irrelevant to them. Why should the day of the week matter at all??

    • Jeff

      Your story doesn’t pertain to this issue any more than a person whose relative died from smoking would pertain to keeping cigarettes from being purchased on Sundays. I’m sorry to hear that but individuals who make mistakes should be punished…if a person texting killed someone on a Sunday that doesn’t mean we should make cell phone texting illegal for everyone on Sundays…see how ridiculous it sounds?

    • crm114

      So you think that having people go to bars to drink instead of buying alcohol to drink at home is going to lead to less drunk driving? Great logic.

      P.S. I don’t care about your “Sabbath.”

  • JeffF

    representation. Why is it that some small portion of the approximately 2000 off
    sale liquor license holders (2008 MN Legislature review data) have influenced a
    legislative body that represents more than four million adult state residents?

  • Jeff

    Listen to the discussion on the Sunday liquor sales in the MN Senate here:


    Around 10 minutes in they talk about the Sunday sales amendment.

  • ptoadstool

    Thank you to my senator, Susan Kent, for carrying this bill forward. I would like to remind the nay voters that the people want this legislation. By the way, if you are going to Hudson on Sunday for your liquor shopping trip, it’s also easy to plan to enjoy brunch and so some other shopping. (If you’re from Cook, you probably won’t make the drive, but here in the Metro we have that choice…)