Dayton signs booze bill; liquor stores can be open on Sundays starting July 2

Office of the Governor
Gov. Mark Dayton: “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.”

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.

The votes tipped on the issue last month, with strong votes in favor of Sunday sales in both the House and the Senate.

“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issue, and to the thousands of Minnesotans who contacted their legislators and built grassroots support to change this outdated law.”

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Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 03/07/2017 - 04:21 pm.

    Lost traditions

    Dang, no more hung over Minnesotans careening down 94 early Sunday morning. I guess they’ll have to go to church instead. Luckily they’ll be able to grab a half pint on the way there.

    • Submitted by David Wintheiser on 03/08/2017 - 09:04 am.

      Late service?

      Since the law doesn’t allow stores to open before 11am, I suspect anybody drinking before church will have to have already planned ahead — or be going to a service that doesn’t care if the Vikings are playing at the same time.

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 03/08/2017 - 10:21 am.

    This is just so bizarre

    Legislators finally do something that a clear majority of Minnesotan’s want, after years if not decades of ignoring anything that most Minnesotan’s want (like passing budgets, letting billionaires build their own stadiums, and fixing stuff) and it’s being celebrated as a huge step forward for humankind? This is back page news at best. We still have no budget, transportation, or bonding bill and we’re careening towards another shut down without those things.

    Talk about dropping the bar on the floor and stepping over it.

  3. Submitted by Bill Spankerton on 03/08/2017 - 11:02 am.

    Sunday Sales as Proxy for Interest Groups vs. Minnesotans

    Briana, thanks for your excellent coverage of the Sunday Sales issue over the past few years. Now that it’s done and dusted, I’m curious to see if the fears of the MLBA prove true or not.

    Beyond some of their more questionable objections (the “six days of sales spread over seven” never resonated), their concern that the passage of Sunday Sales would soon lead to sales in grocery stores seems a far more legitimate threat to mom ‘n pop liquor stores.

    I was an ardent supporter of Sunday Sales, and it seems clear that broad public support for the issue was a significant factor in its passage. But I’m indifferent, or even slightly opposed, to going further down the road. Does most of the public also support grocery sales? If not, will the Total Wine et al lobby + the new-look legislature be sufficient to make grocery sales a reality in 2018?

    To Paul Udstrand: I agree that liquor bills aren’t important in the grand scheme of state government. That said, the Sunday Sales issue exemplified the disconcerting power of small lobbying groups to quash a change clearly supported by a majority of Minnesotans for several years now. Especially in the context of the more important issues you’ve raised, I’m hopeful our elected officials consider the wants of The People first and foremost.

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