Senate Commerce Committee begins work on Liquor Bill

This week the Senate Commerce Committee began their work to compile an omnibus liquor bill. The committee heard three bills relating to liquor regulations in the state for possible inclusion in the liquor bill. Most notably, a bill to extend bar closing times to 4:00 a.m. during the 2018 Super Bowl was discussed (SF 440). The bill is limited to Hennepin and Ramsey Counties and the two counties would have the discretion to issue special permits for establishments to extend their hours during the Super Bowl weekend. In the past, the Legislature has approved extended bar closing times for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game and the 2008 Republican Convention.

Of the two additional bills discussed by the committee, one would grant a full liquor license to the Upton 43 restaurant in south Minneapolis (SF 267). The restaurant currently has a wine and beer license and under the city charter does not qualify for a full liquor license due to zoning requirements. The second bill changes the labeling requirements for 3.2% malt liquor to remove the requirement for a disclosure on the can top (SF 444). Minnesota is the only state in the country that requires labeling on can tops, so products sold in Minnesota are more costly and more difficult to manufacture.