Minnesota's irrational, widely-loathed ban on liquor stores being open on Sundays is probably going to hang around for at least one more year.
Coming into this year's legislative session hopes were high with both Gov. Mark Dayton and House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) on board for a full repeal, but that effort never got a hearing in either the House or Senate. See also: Meet the People Stopping You From Buying Beer on Sunday
One of the Legislature's strongest supporters of lifting the Sunday sales ban, Sen. Roger Reinert (D-Duluth), pinned the repeal effort's failure on the House.
"If the House did something, we were certainly ready to do something, but we've already had a full repeal hearing in the Senate before, and I wasn't going to ask my colleagues to do it again unless there was some indication it had traction in the House," he says.
Rep. Joe Hoppe (R-Chaska) and Sen. James Metzen (D-South St. Paul) chair the House and Senate Commerce committees, respectively, and they are ultimately responsible for not giving the bills hearings. Neither returned voicemails we left on Friday.
Metzen told WCCO last week he didn't see a big push for the repeal this year.
The full repeal could still come up for a vote as a floor amendment tacked on to the liquor bill at the last second, but Reinert says he doesn't support that tactic.
"Those floor amendments that get thrown out at the last minute without any organizing or strategy around them usually fail by overwhelming numbers, and then that becomes the story," he says. "I don't think that's accurate of where either of the bodies are actually at."
There is some good news for Sunday Funday enthusiasts. The so-called "Bloody Mary bill" allowing restaurants to serve liquor starting at 8 a.m. looks like it will pass, as will another bill allowing breweries to sell growlers on Sundays.
Reinert says smaller measures like those help chip away at the larger goal of a full repeal.
"[Supporters of the ban] know the ground if shifting, public opinion is not with them, and they're going to lose," he says. "They're just trying to figure out, I think, when and how they're going to lose."
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