The Minnesota House has once again voted to keep the state’s longtime ban on Sunday liquor sales.
By a 14-vote margin, lawmakers rejected a proposal Thursday to allow local government officials to decide whether to allow liquor stores in their communities to open on Sundays. Current law prohibits liquor stores statewide from being open on Sundays.
Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie said consumers and many liquor store owners are asking for the change. Loon said her proposal is about economic freedom.
“We entrust our local municipalities to make decisions with regards to what happens in their cities in a number of areas,” Loon said. “It’s time that we allow them to make this decision. If it’s not for your city, then your local government will make that decision.”
Some legislators have changed their position on Sunday sales.
Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, said he’s now a supporter.
“I think the moral argument, the business argument and the law enforcement argument are outdated and archaic,” Cornish said.
Opponents argued that lifting the ban would hurt many small liquor stores. They also contend that another day of retail liquor sales would result in more alcohol-related problems.
Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said he’s convinced there would be more problems.
“The studies are quite conclusive, if you look across the country,” Atkins said. “In places where there is greater access, there are greater alcohol-related crimes.”
Rep. Laurie Halverson, DFL-Eagan, said the local option approach would result in incongruous policies.
“Patchwork laws around the state are not helpful to our small businesses,” Halverson said.