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Money from Sunday sales would pay for chemical dependency treatment if this bill passes

Sunday sales would have to pass first.

A couple of lawmakers are proposing that state tax revenue from Sunday liquor sales (if it passes) be used to fund chemical dependency treatment programs in Minnesota.

Rep. Jenifer Loon, a Republican from Eden Prairie, and Rep. Rick Hansen, a Democrat from South St. Paul, co-authored H.F. 1091, which was introduced Monday.

The bill says every July, the commissioner of revenue will estimate the amount of tax revenue the state gets from Sunday liquor sales. That money will then be taken from the general fund, which is where it would normally be directed, and instead be used to fund chemical dependency treatment programs.

If the bill becomes law, it would go into effect the July after Sunday sales are allowed in Minnesota.

So, will Sunday sales pass?

Sunday sales have been a contentious subject at the Capitol, with attempts in previous years to remove the ban failing. (The Growler has laid out the arguments for and against Sunday sales, you can read more about them here.)

But this year could be different. Loon has co-authored billsto allow Sunday sales, which she says will "give consumers the choices they want, allow liquor stores the option to be open any day of the week they choose, and help Minnesota businesses remain competitive."

The bill has already passed committee and could see a House floor vote this week. House Speaker Kurt Daudt has said he thinks the bill will pass the House this year.

He's not sure what will happen in the Senate however (and remember, both chambers have to approve identical bills to have a chance at becoming law).

Chemical dependency in MN

According to a 2016 report to the Minnesota Legislature, 5.5 percent of adults in Minnesota met the criteria for having alcohol use disorder in the past year, while about 2 percent of adults in the state met the criteria for a drug use disorder.

The report found about 6.9 percent of adults need some type of treatment for substance use – 5.7 percent need it for alcohol, while 2.1 percent need it for drug use. And those who needed treatment the most were men ages 18-24; American Indians; and people without health insurance.

More than nine out of 10 adults with a substance use disorder did not receive any treatment in the past year, the report found.

The economic costs associated with alcohol use in Minnesota are estimated at about $5.06 billion a year, the Minnesota Department of Health's 2011 fact sheet says.

For more on alcohol and drug use in Minnesota, click here.

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