Many people know that I’ve been a huge supporter of Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota for a long time. We’re the only State in the area that doesn’t allow liquor stores to open on Sunday and it drives revenue away from border towns, as well as gives us a bad taste in the mouth of people considering relocating here. In 2014 I penned an Open Letter to Minnesota Liquor Store Owners that was picked up by local media, outlining many of the reasons I felt this law was antiquated and needed repeal. In 2015 I once again lamented my home State’s lack of foresight.
In 2016 I didn’t even have much hope that anything would happen, and I wasn’t disappointed. However, this year, things seemed to suddenly be possible. There was a large influx of new legislators, as well as a few key people changing their minds. I didn’t want to hold out too much hope, but then when the bill started passing through committee I got excited.
Last week the bill passed the house with an overwhelming margin, and then Monday I watched the live stream of the debate and vote, as the last vestige of antiquated Puritan protectionism fell. The repeal passed, and after a couple more negotiations in committee and the governor’s signature, Minnesota will join the ranks of modern America.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in useful regulation, and efforts to help small businesses, but when a law targets a single industry, my equity radar goes off. Many arguments were made about how bad Sunday Sales would be for small liquor businesses, but I guarantee you that there are thousands of small businesses out there that would love a required day off. It’s time to address how to protect small businesses directly, and stop hiding behind an outdated law that only benefits a small handful of municipal and local businesses, and harms many border businesses.
I’m proud that Minnesota took this step today, and I’ll be sure to take advantage of supporting my local liquor store as often as I can to show my support for their new found freedom.
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