The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Editorials

April 14, 2013

Our View: Legalize liquor sales on all Sundays

It’s as predictable as champagne at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The Sunday liquor issue has surfaced again at the Minnesota Legislature.

And once again proposed legislation to legalize Sunday liquor sales looks like it’s already dead. But last week things got weirder when an attempt was made to resurrect Sunday liquor in a different form — just for Super Bowl Sunday.

It was almost as though the attempt was to get a dispensation, a divine order for an exception because this particular Sunday is nearly a religious experience. And the ritual of the day includes consumption of alcoholic libations. And, oh yes, most importantly, sales of such would make liquor stores a lot of money in one day.

We said it was weird. The idea of a one-day Sunday sale — no matter how mega — should be tossed out.

As stated here in the past, Sunday liquor sales should be legal. Every Sunday. An estimated 80 percent of Minnesotans agree with it. A grass-roots group called Minnesota Beer Activists gathered a 2,000-signature petition asking for Sunday sales.

The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association, however, has effectively lobbied hard against broader Sunday sales year after year. Its members don’t want to be open seven days a week; and if their competition would be open, they would be compelled to open as well, the argument goes.

That doesn’t necessarily ring true, though. Look at Hobby Lobby. The mega hobby store is never open on Sundays, despite their competition staying open. A Sunday liquor law would not force liquor stores to stay open, and consumers don’t have to buy on Sundays if they don’t want to.

Minnesota is one of only 12 states that doesn’t sell liquor on Sundays. It’s an outdated law, tied to Prohibition, that should be changed.

Once the law is changed, a lot of Minnesotans will raise their glasses in responsible, measured celebration.

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