Sunday liquor sales dies again at Capitol

There are few issues that find DFLers and Republicans on the same side at the Capitol these days. Sunday liquor sales is one.

Minnesota doesn’t allow liquor sales on Sunday and the issue annually surfaces at the Capitol and efforts to repeal the liquor blue laws annually fail.

Today the issue surfaced at the Capitol and the repeal effort went down in flames again.

“We are seeing our commerce exported to states like Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and Iowa. The freedom to stay in business rather than being restricted by state law,” Rep. Stephen Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa said as he tried to amend a bill to allow Sunday sales, sales on Thanksgiving and after 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

“All of the consumers I’ve spoken with want Sunday liquor sales. We’re all adults; we should have the right to choose,” Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said. “It’s 2012. It’s about time our laws reflect that.”

“It wasn’t the big liquor stores that came in (to testify on previous measures); it was the small ones — the mom and pops came in and said, ‘you’re going to take six days of revenue and spread it over seven days,'” Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, answered

“What industry wouldn’t like a deal where the government comes in and says, ‘you can have a day when you don’t have to worry about your competitors’?” Rep. Tina Liebling said. “This is a legal product and to not allow it is unfair to the consumer. It treats people like children. That’s a silly argument and kind of insulting. They don’t have to open and that’s the free market, you’re always talking about. Restaurants do this too. They close on Mondays.”

“Think of the families,” Rep. Bob Gunther, R-Fairmont said. “If someone wants to drink, they can go Saturdays to buy their liquor and drink it at home with their family. My dad drank too much. My brother probably was an alcoholic. I don’t think they ever spent a Sunday drinking; they spent it with their family. Let the families have a day together, ”

“If you have something against liquor, bring forward a bill to outlaw it,” Drazkowski said.

“Stay home with your family. Value church and family times,” Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, said. “I think the blue laws are a part of Americana that everyone wants to get back to.”

“Why would you come to this state if you can’t get a beer?” another lawmaker said.

The amendment went down and went down hard on a 97-25 vote.

“This thing got destroyed,” Rep. Kriesel said. “Government knows what’s best for you. This is incredibly frustrating.” He offered an amendment to offer liquor sales in border counties.

“Did you guys watch the Vikings last year? Three and 13. I think liquor is something that could solve the frustration on Sundays this year,” he joked.

His amendment went down hard, too. 99-21.