Minnesota gubernatorial candidates begin to address Sunday liquor sales during the first of five gubernatorial debates.
Midway through the debate Minnesota DFL Governor Mark Dayton, Republican Jeff Johnson, and Independence Party candidate Hannah Nicollet all expressed support for allowing Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota. Dayton and and Nicollet cited religious diversity and convenience. Johnson, frustrated, blamed the DFL controlled legislature for not passing a Sunday alcohol sales provision during the last biennium, a sentiment that was echoed by Sen. Michelle Bensen on twitter.
.@tomscheck if Dayton was a YES on #SundaySales why didn’t he call the Senate when the omni liquor bill was pulled?
— Sen. Michelle Benson (@SenatorBenson) October 2, 2014
The comments on religious diversity made by Dayton and Nicollet might have addressed the reasons Minnesota instituted the Blue Laws, but in recent years the most vocal opposition to repealing our Sunday off-sale prohibition has come from special interest groups.
My most frequently retweeted comments during debate were on Sunday liquor sales. Drink up Minnesota! I must’ve missed a great Happy Hour! — Tom Hauser (@5hauser) October 2, 2014
One thing is certain, the issue of repealing Sunday liquor sales is more popular with Minnesota voters than ever before. Governor Dayton seemed to take a stronger stance than last session when Dayton said he would sign a Sunday sales bill if one made it to his desk. With four more debates left to go his position on Sunday liquor sales could use a bit more definition.
A governor pushing for Sunday liquor sales will help move the issue forward, but a Sunday liquor sales bill doesn’t just materialize on a desk. If an effort to modernize the liquor code is to be successful the bill will likely need to travel through committees in both Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate.
@SundaySalesMN @MNBeerActivists @bbierschbach Advocate for passage in 15? Or sign a bill should it make their desk? #bigdifference
— Roger Reinert (@RogerForDuluth) October 2, 2014
Dayton is just having his cake and eating it too on this issue. He has the house and senate do the will of the Teamsters and just says he is pro Sunday sales because it polls well (and he doesn’t want to get hurt by it). Johnson and Nicollet would likely get off their butt to push it through congress. Like Johnson says, it shouldn’t be this hard.
With Johnson as governor you’ll need Sunday liquor sales to drown out your sorrows from yet another Republican’t-decimated economy. (Just look at Wisconsin, Kansas or New Jersey if you think I’m engaging in hyperbole.) Then again, you won’t have the money to actually buy any booze on Sunday, but at least you’ll have to comfort of knowing you could, if only you had the money…