New Bills Would Allow Sunday Liquor Sales

Three bills, including one that highlights local control, were introduced to allow Sunday liquor sales.
(Published Jan 21, 2014)

Three identical bills to allow Sunday liquor sales were introduced in the House on Jan. 13. The proposals were introduced in time to meet the deadline to pre-file bills before the start of the legislative session. (See related story.)

Nearly every legislative session, there is a bill to bring Sunday liquor sales to Minnesota, and it usually doesn’t make it out of committee. On the rare occasion that it has, it has always been voted down when it got to full floor debate. In 2013, when it was up for a vote on the House floor, it was voted down 106-21, while the Senate version never made it to a full vote.

The 2014 bills brought forward last week are:

As past attempts at legalizing Sunday liquor sales demonstrate, these bills are expected to have an uphill battle. Perhaps because of this, one of the bill’s authors is taking a different approach in messaging by highlighting the ability of municipalities to regulate the hours and rules of sale. In a press release from Rep. Loon, the bill is described as removing the statewide ban on Sunday liquor sales and would “allow local municipalities to decide hours and rules for these sales.”

To be clear, cities already have the authority to decide hours and rules for any liquor sales, but cities may not limit or add to the days of sale allowed by statute. So if one of these Sunday liquor bills passed, cities could pass reasonable restrictions, including on hours of sale, but cities could not ban liquor off-sales on Sunday.

The League does not have a policy supporting or opposing Sunday liquor sales, but staff will continue to monitor these bills throughout session. For more information on liquor licensing procedure, state and local regulations imposed on liquor license holders, and insurance and liability concerns, see the League’s information memo, Liquor Licensing and Regulation.

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