Senator Kent proudly casts vote to legalize Sunday liquor sales

ST. PAUL, Minn – The Minnesota Senate voted 38 to 28 on Monday to legalize Sunday liquor sales with equal numbers of Republican and DFL members voting in support of the legislation. The bill now heads to Governor Dayton’s desk where he is expected to sign it. Sen. Susan Kent (DFL-Woodbury) a longtime advocate for legalizing Sunday liquor sales released the following statement:

 “I was proud to cast my vote to legalize Sunday liquor sales today. I have heard overwhelmingly from my community that they believe it’s time to change this law, and that we should keep this tax revenue here in Minnesota, for education or road and bridge repair. Legalizing Sunday liquor sales will allow small businesses in the east metro to be more competitive by giving them the option of being open on the second-busiest shopping day of the week. And while I am happy to see Minnesotans granted this increased consumer choice, I’m also looking forward to focusing on other, even more important issues here at the legislature. Our fights this session are just beginning,” said Sen. Susan Kent.

BACKGROUND:

Minnesota is currently one of 12 states that prohibits Sunday liquor sales. The states that border Minnesota—Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota—all allow retail sales of alcohol on Sundays. There is public support in Minnesota for Sunday sales, with over 60 percent of Minnesotans in favor.

Over the course of the last several legislative sessions, legislators have attempted to remove the ban on Sunday sales through a variety of measures. In the 2015 session, a bipartisan group of legislators sponsored bills to authorize full Sunday sales. Those attempts all ultimately failed.

This year is the first year the Legislature has seen this issue as a stand-alone bill rather than an amendment on the floor. The bill was approved by the House with a bipartisan vote of 85-45.

The Senate bill allows for the sale of liquor on Sundays between the hours of 11:00 am and 6:00 pm. The bill also prohibits the wholesale delivery of alcohol to off-sale licensees on Sundays and no order solicitations or merchandising may be made by wholesalers on Sundays.

Supporters of Sunday sales argue that Minnesota’s laws are outdated and limit the competitiveness of Minnesota’s businesses with neighboring states. Supporters include: local craft breweries, larger liquor stores, Minnesota Beer Activists, and several grassroots consumer organizations.

Opponents of the bill argue that having small, family-owned and municipal liquor stores open on Sundays does not generate more profits, but they would still incur the costs of being open an extra day. They also say consumers can plan ahead and buy alcohol any other day of the week and allowing the sale of alcohol on Sundays will result in more alcohol or substance abuse related accidents. Opponents include: small and municipal liquor stores, Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, and Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association.

Senator Susan Kent
Susan Kent represents District 53 in the eastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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