The annual push to bring Minnesota out of the 1930s and legalize Sunday liquor sales is heating up as the 2015 legislative session gets going.
The chances of repealing the ban are as good as they've been in quite some time. Governor Dayton is on board, as is House majority leader Kurt Daudt, who recently changed his mind on the matter.
Will this be the year it finally happens? Here are the forces standing in the way of a repeal: See also: Teamsters Union Stalls Sunday Growler Sales
Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association
This powerful lobbying organization represents small, family-owned bars and liquor stores. MLBA's power comes from its numbers. If a bill it doesn't like begins to move forward it can mobilize small-business owners from all around the state to hammer on legislator's doors.
Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association
The MMBA represents city-owned liquor stores that fear increased hours will needlessly add to costs and cut into profits. From its website:
"It is about spreading six days of sales over seven days of expenses. Alcohol is not a destination purchase. People don't get up and say 'let's go alcohol shopping.' It is an impulse purchase that, in the vast majority of locations, doesn't pay the day's bills."
DFLers beholden to the MMBA and MLBA
In last Sunday's Star Tribune piece on the annual effort to legalize Sunday liquor sales, several legislators used protecting existing private and municipal liquor stores from extra work as justification for upholding the ban.
Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said he voted against a repeal in the past, and likely would again, if only because of concerns from liquor store owners in his district, along with mayors of cities whose municipal liquor sales bolster the city budget.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said he remains opposed to a repeal on behalf of municipal liquor stores -- who say they would face overtime costs that would tax city budgets -- and independent stores who don't want to feel forced to stay open on Sundays.
Bakk could single-handedly block the repeal effort by not allowing it to reach the floor in the DFL-controlled Senate.
Republicans who support the ban on moral grounds
Even though the public supports allowing Sunday sales by a wide margin there are still plenty of socially conservative Republicans holding office who have no problem banning such a sinful substance for one day a week.
The Teamsters shone last year as the force that shut down a seemingly harmless effort to allow breweries to sell growlers on Sundays. Teamsters have considerable pull with the DFL and will staunchly oppose any measure that is even perceived as a threat to its sacred labor agreements.
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