Senator Roger Reinert’s Sunday Sales bill has legislative life. The bill will be heard in the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, March 16th, at 10:30 a.m. The bill would repeal Minnesota’s law prohibiting sales of liquor on Sundays. Senator Reinert will also be appearing on Almanac this Friday, March 11th, to discuss the legislation. Veteran legislators believe that this is the first time ever that this bill has been heard before a Senate Commerce Committee.
“Minnesota’s current statutes prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sundays puts our state at a competitive and economic disadvantage—particularly in communities that border Wisconsin,” said Sen. Reinert. Analysts for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) found that cross border purchases by Minnesotans account for about 3.1 percent of Wisconsin’s taxed liquor sales.
“This hearing is a critical first step in getting the bill passed,” said Senator Reinert. “The bill must pass the committee in order to move to a vote on the Senate floor.” A companion bill in the House has been introduced and awaits a hearing.
Senator Reinert noted that the organized opposition has a full-time lobbyist working to defeat the proposal. “There is no lobbyist for the individual citizens of Minnesota who support the bill,” said Reinert. “If consumers want to see this change in state law they must take action.” He encourages citizens to contact the members of the Commerce Committee and support a Yes vote.
“This bill is about the free market, giving both businesses and consumers a choice,” Sen. Reinert said. “Stores could still choose to be closed on Sundays, and consumers could choose not to make a purchase. But let’s allow for the choice.”
A law change would also generate up to $10.6 million in tax revenue, according to DISCUS analysis. Minnesota is one of only 14 states that forbid retail liquor sales on Sundays.
DISCUS also reports that shoppers tend to spend more on Sundays than any other day of the week. And, in the important 35-to-54-year-old demographic, Sunday is the second most important grocery shopping day of the year. More than 43 percent of the distilled spirits consumers fall into this age category.
“Sunday liquor sale laws are remnants of a bygone era that no longer make sense in the 21st Century,” Sen. Reinert said.