Bid to extend Sunday liquor store hours passes Minnesota House

It would extend regular opening hours by an hour and up to three on special holidays.
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Sunday liquor sales have only been legal in Minnesota since July, and already efforts are underway to extend times stores are allowed to open.

Currently, liquor stores can only sell alcohol between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on a Sunday, but a bill passed in the Minnesota House by an overwhelming 114-7 vote would allow stores to open at 10 a.m.

The bill put forward by Rep. Jim Nash (R-Waconia) would also allow stores to stay open till 8 p.m. on Sunday-falling Christmas Eves and New Year's Eves, Session Daily notes.

It was initially proposed that Sunday liquor sales would start at 10 a.m., but it was shifted back to 11 a.m., the Star Tribune reports, as a concession to store owners who didn't want to pay for the a full day of operations.

It's among a number of changes to the state's liquor laws in the bill, which would also allow tastings at stores where customers make their own beer and wine, and approve liquor licenses for, among other venues, Nighthawks in Minneapolis and Restoration Hardware furniture store in Edina.

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But while there is overwhelming support for changing Sunday hours in the House, the companion bill in the Senate doesn't include extending opening times in its version of the bill.

If a bill were to be passed and sent to Governor Mark Dayton for signature, the House and the Senate would have to reconcile the differences between the two versions.

WCCO reported earlier this month that the introduction of Sunday sales hasn't brought about a huge increase in alcohol tax revenue.

Preliminary figures show revenue rose 1.9 percent in 2017, compared to a 3.5 percent rise the year before.

But speaking to the Star Tribune, state Sen. Jeremy Miller (R–Winona) said the goal of Sunday sales wasn't revenue, but in response to consistent calls from Minnesota residents and businesses along the border losing business to Wisconsin stores.

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