UPDATE: The House voted 85-45 on Monday afternoon to overturn the ban.
Lots and lots to be afraid of out there in this political moment.
Now, for that rarest bit of good news: The Minnesota House of Representatives is voting today on legalizing Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota. It's a perennial issue in Minnesota, a state that has lately become a proud supporter of its booming beer and liquor industries, and most people think this is the best chance that's ever had.
The issue doesn't break neatly across partisan lines. Opponents include union-friendly Democrats who don't want to upset the teamsters and their existing contracts, plus conservatives who... just don't like changing old laws, okay?
Proponents include liberals who think consumers can handle their own decisions on when to buy stuff, and business backers who think liquor stores should have the right to set their own days of operation.
Speaking on WCCO yesterday morning, House Speaker Kurt Daudt credited "grassroots support" for moving the needle on removing the prohibition.
"Pressure has been growing at the Capitol in recent years," Daudt said, "so I think this is the year."
Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk.
The bill authored by Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, would allow liquor stores to open between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Sundays; Loon tried solving the teamsters' driver issue by prohibiting the delivery of the stuff on the Lord's day.
As of this writing, only two floor amendments have been offered on the bill: One from Rep. Linda Slocum (DFL-Richfield) would turn Sunday sales into a local issue, allowing municipalities to remove the ban, instead of a statewide shift. Another from DFL Rep. Rick Hansen (South St. Paul) would devote tax revenues from liquor sold on Sundays to fund "chemical dependency treatment programs."
The House bill's rapid advancement has outpaced the sluggish movement on the Senate side: The companion bill to Loon's, carried by Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), has yet to clear a single committee vote.
Don't know how your House rep is going to vote today? (Don't know who your representative even is?) Type your address into this handy tool and contact your rep sometime before the floor session kicks off at 4 o'clock and let them know how you feel.