Starting July 2, Minnesotans won’t have to cross the border to buy alcohol on Sundays.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill Tuesday afternoon that lifts Minnesota’s 159-year-old prohibition on selling alcohol in liquor stores on Sundays, allowing those businesses to be open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
When the bill officially goes into effect in July, Minnesota will join most other states in allowing liquor stores to be open on Sundays, including all of Minnesota’s bordering states.
The change comes after a years-long lobbying effort from citizens who wrote letters, emails and took to social media to plead with their legislators to lift the ban.
“This new law reflects the desires of most people in Minnesota, who have made it clear to their legislators that they want to have this additional option,” Dayton said in a statement, citing recent polls that show two-thirds of Minnesotans supported giving liquor stores the option to be open on Sunday.
Under the legislation, individual liquor stores can still choose to be closed on Sundays, and local governments can also set up their own rules for Sunday liquor sales if they choose. There are also no deliveries of alcohol on Sundays under the bill.
For years, mostly small, independent liquor owners opposed the change, arguing it would lead to a system where alcohol would soon be sold in grocery stores and gas stations, destroying mom and pop shops. They effectively blocked the issue from passing for years, but with dozens of new legislators in St. Paul this session, many who supported the ban, the issue gained traction.
“Just in time for Independence Day, Minnesotans will have the freedom to buy beer and wine on Sunday for the first time in state history beginning July 2nd,” Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt, who pushed for the change, said in a statement. “I’m grateful to Rep. Jenifer Loon for her leadership on this issue, and to the thousands of Minnesotans who contacted their legislators and built grassroots support to change this outdated law.”