No compromises, no half-measures, lawmakers have bid once again for the complete removal of the Sunday liquor sales ban in Minnesota.
There had been talk of a softly-softly approach that slowly peels away at the controversial law after years of unsuccessful attempts to scrap it, but opponents of the ban have instead pushed for an all-out repeal, the Pioneer Press reports.
A bipartisan bill was introduced to both the Minnesota Senate and the House of Representatives by Duluth DFL Sen. Roger Reinert and Eden Prairie GOP Rep. Jenifer Loon Thursday, the newspaper notes.
"I think the people of Minnesota are ready for this,” Sen. Reinert told FOX 9. "38 other states have figured out how to do it. Every state on our borders and two provinces have figured out how to do it. The 65 percent of Minnesotans who want this this deserve to have a hearing and floor vote on the issue."
The removal of the ban has faced fierce opposition and lobbying from special interests groups like the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association in recent years. They have argued that opening on Sundays would eat into profits for many business owners.
This opposition has been shared by Teamsters who say it could require deliveries on Sundays, and certain lawmakers who have objected on moral grounds in the past.
Support grows for Sunday sales
The Duluth News Tribune reports that a bid to scrap the ban on the Senate floor last spring failed by 42 votes to 22, but a year earlier, a similar bid in the House failed by a much larger margin, 106 to 21.
"It’s just a matter of time before this change occurs,” said Rep. Loon told WCCO. "It’s not if, it’s when."
To counter claims by special interest groups that opening on Sundays would increase costs for small businesses, the two lawmakers brought four liquor store owners who said their business would benefit from the repeal.
MPR reports that David Hansen, of Stillwater, said he loses out because people head across the border into Wisconsin – where there is no ban – to buy alcohol on Sundays.
"We sell a legal product in a legal and responsible way, and I should have the choice to be able to do that on Sundays without government interference," he told the House.
The bills still face a tall order to make it through the House though, with MPR saying that many legislators from both parties remain opposed to the repeal.