The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 8, 2014

Plenty of options for Sunday liquor

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs up to lawmakers taking a broad look at options regarding the current ban on Sunday liquor sales.

Repealing the ban on Sunday liquor sales is a perennial issue. Stores along the borders say they lose Sunday business to stores just across the border in other states. And there seems to be greater public support for allowing liquor sales on Sunday. But many liquor store owners are happy having Sundays off and oppose lifting the ban.

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers are offering a range of bills this session, from full repeal to more measured steps. Their idea is that if a full repeal isn’t palatable to lawmakers, they could perhaps allow cities and counties to make the decision on Sunday sales. Another option, which would likely have strong public support, would be to allow Sunday sales of beer growlers at local tap rooms but stop short of letting stores open.

Offering a buffet of possible legislation is a good approach.

Ensuring quality control

Thumbs up to Sen. Julie Rosen of Vernon Center for sponsoring a bill that adds legitimacy to the music therapy profession.

The Republican from Vernon Center is proposing legislation that would create a music therapy license. The bill would establish standards, such as needing a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in an approved program and the completion of 1,200 hours of clinical training among other requirements.

Setting up professional standards for the musical therapy field would ensure that quality care and guidance are available to clients who seek help. The power of music isn’t a new concept, but knowing how to use it affectively to help those suffering from disease or recovering from ailments belongs in the field of trained professionalists. Requiring a license for music therapists is the way to maintain quality control, just like in any medical profession. Licensure also enables therapists to be reimbursed by insurance providers.

Christie gets it right

Thumbs up to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, urged his fellow Republicans to “start talking about what we’re for and not what we’re against.”

Conservatives gave Christie the cold shoulder at last year’s event so how much influence he has on them may be limited. But this is advice Republicans should be heeding regardless of its origin. The confrontational, government-is-bad approach works short term, but it’s hard to rally behind because it offers nothing for comparison. Government is bad compared to what? No government? Stop spending. OK, where and why? What are the priorities the Republican Party can embrace as its platform for progress.

In other words, after you’ve burned it down, what’s left besides the ashes? The GOP has a great opportunity to offer a different outcome if they can just articulate the path.

Down with ‘upskirt’ pics

Thumbs down to a seemingly bizarre ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that held that taking pictures up a woman’s skirt when she doesn’t know it is perfectly legal.

The court ruled that a Boston trolley rider caught sneaking such shots could not be charged because one of the five criteria for being a “peeping Tom” was that “the subject was another person who was nude or partially nude,” and the women whose photos showed up on his cellphone were, as is typical of patrons of public transportation, dressed.

Legislative leaders in Massachusetts vow to close that loophole. It might behoove Minnesota’s Legislature to check the wording of this state’s statutes on the subject as well.