Senate rejects Sunday liquor sales again – is there still a chance it passes?

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Minnesota senators have voted against repealing the ban on Sunday liquor sales – but there's now real hope it will be lifted sooner rather than later.

Why is that? Because this was the narrowest defeat of the bill seen in recent years, with just 35 members of the Senate voting to keep the ban, and 28 voting to repeal it.

And the Star Tribune reports advocates of the bill say there's still a chance it could be repealed this year through a potential vote in Minnesota's House.

The fact that six more senators voted to repeal the ban compared to last year (when the result was 42-22) is a cause for optimism for Sen. Dave Osmek, R-Mound, who told the newspaper: "If they can pass it, it goes into conference committee; I think we’ll get it this year."

Not everyone is as optimistic. Sen. Jeremy Miller, a Republican from Winona, said he predicts it'll pass in two years, the Pioneer Press reports.

While there is strong public support to repeal it, those in favor of the ban include powerful industry lobbyists who argue that allowing liquor stores to open on Sundays will increase small business costs without a corresponding increase in profit.

But there are also some business owners who want to open Sundays, particularly those based near to Wisconsin who lose trade through people going over the border (where there's no ban) on Sundays.

The Senate did sign off on a larger omnibus bill allowing the Sunday sale of 64-ounce "Growlers" in Minnesota taprooms, and the "Bloody Mary bill" that allows bars and restaurants to sell liquor from 8 a.m. Sundays, instead of the current 10 a.m., MPR reports.

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