Sunday booze sales? Not quite yet, but it's getting closer

This version would let you buy booze on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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Minnesota is just a little bit closer to literally striking "Sundays" from its liquor sales restrictions.

A collection of lawmakers in the House voted to approve a bill allowing liquor sales in Minnesota on Sundays – which would end an 81-year-old dry spell.

The bill (with this amendment) would let liquor sales happen from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. It would also ban alcohol deliveries to off-sale retailers on Sundays.

It would kick in on July 1 of this year. Here's House Speaker Kurt Daudt on Twitter Tuesday:

Worth noting: Liquor stores would still be required to close on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and after 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

What happens from here?

We're still a long way from this actually becoming a law. If it even does become law.

The vote came from the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee, which is made up of 13 Republicans and eight DFLers. With the committee's approval, the bill could head to the full House for a vote in the future.

House lawmakers before the session had said this might be the year Sunday liquor sales actually go through, so it isn't necessarily surprising to see this happen.

But for a bill to become law, both the House and Senate have to approve the exact same bill. Then the governor has to sign it.

Right now, it's not clear whether the Senate is interested in passing something. There isn't currently a matching bill in the Senate, and party leaders in the state Senate seemed either indifferent, or straight-up against it, when asked in December.

Gov. Mark Dayton Tuesday told reporters he'd allow a Sunday sales bill to become law if it gets to him, according to reportsonTwitter.

Arguments for and against it

For years, consumers and advocacy groups have been pushing to change Minnesota’s liquor laws, saying the antiquated regulations put the state at a disadvantage to its neighbors.

They’ve seen some success – like changes that allow taprooms and tasting rooms, as well as allowing breweries and brewpubs to sell growlers on Sundays – but not a full out repeal of the ban on Sunday sales.

But lawmakers (see this list from MN Beer Activists) have been hesitant to pass a full out repeal of the ban on Sunday sales, in part because they feel it could hurt small, independent liquor stores that can’t afford to be open on Sundays.

If they're not open though, they could lose business to bigger sellers that are already open seven days a week.

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