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Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota: Is this the year?

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  • Minnesota Beer Activists push for Sunday sales

    Minnesota Beer Activists push for Sunday sales

    Monday, February 25 2013 8:43 AM EST2013-02-25 13:43:57 GMT
    Sunday liquor sales seem to surface (and fail) at the Minnesota Capitol each year. This session, lawmakers have an amended bill and a social media push from Minnesota Beer Activists.
    Andrew Schmitt formed a group called Minnesota Beer Activists. Through social media he is pushing for liquor stores to be open on Sundays. Annually the issue seems to surface at the Capitol and also fails. This year, lawmakers amended a bill aimed to allow sales on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Sunday liquor store sales in Minnesota was the topic of a Senate Commerce Committee discussion Monday afternoon, but no vote on the annual issue was planned.

Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, introduced a bill earlier this month that is essentially the current Minnesota law with sales restrictions crossed out.

"Members, this is an extremely lengthy bill. I think we have five lines of text," Reinert quipped.

Reinert introduced the same bill in 2011, but it died after clearing just one committee. It seems it keeps coming up at the Capitol, however, even as liquor store owners continue to shoot it down because they believe sales would stay flat while paying for an extra day of staffing.

"We would be happy to have additional revenue, but we see this as no additional revenue and just additional cost," said MaryAnn Campo.

Not all store owners had such a bleak perspective of the switch. Jason Alvey told lawmakers he just doesn't believe the argument that he wouldn't make more money.

"It should be my decision as a business owner, just like it is for every other retailer," he argued. "Impulse purchasing on a Sunday will increase overall revenue. Sunday is one of the busiest shopping days of the week."

Alvey also encouraged lawmakers to consider "how displeased" a company like Target would be if they were prohibited from opening on Sunday.

Yet, the reason it keeps coming up is that customers want the convenience. The new law would allow liquor sales on Sundays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Minnesota is one of 12 states with "blue laws" that still ban Sunday liquor sales, but all neighboring states allow it. Beer runs bring plenty of people across the border to Hudson, Wis., where one liquor store owners told FOX 9 that 85 percent of Sunday sales come from Minnesotans.

The commerce committee will also discuss a handful of other alcohol-related bills at Monday's session.

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