Minnesota Senate fails to adopt full Sunday liquor sales, now it is up to the House

Close, but no cigar

The Senate heard their version of the omnibus liquor bill today. It was perhaps a bit earlier than usual this time around. Included in the bill were notable provisions for Sunday growlers sales, distillers selling their own products, 8am bar openings, and MN brewpub beer at the MN State Fair.

“It is a law that was founded in a past era, it’s kind of how the industry grew up and everything got entrenched and established the way it is,” Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, said. “But things change quite a bit over time as well, and it’s important to respond to that.”
MINNPOST April 16, 2015

Missing from the bill was language to repeal the ban on off-sale Sunday liquor sales. An amendment from Senator Susan Kent to allow Sunday sales was quickly introduced and a rousing debate and thorough discussion ensued. For some reason the streaming feed had technical difficulties. The audio of the floor discussion should be available here at some point in the near future.

“The short answer is, the House is the next step,” said Sen. Dave Osmek, R-Mound, a Sunday sales proponent. “If they can pass it, it goes into conference committee; I think we’ll get it this year.”

Though the debate was filled with the usual pro and anti-Sunday sales arguments, a number of lawmakers pushed for supporting Sunday sales if only because a repeal of the ban is inevitable.

“It’s not ever if this happens, it’s when,” said Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester. “…It’s going to happen eventually. Let’s get this issue behind us and move on.”
Star Tribune April 16, 2015

The debate from those opposed held mostly to some of the same worn out arguments everyone has heard for years. Although the “safety” banter was kept to a minimum. It is hard to protest Sunday liquor sales at stores in the name of safety when you are opening bars 2 hours earlier. Senator Kent’s amendment would have banned liquor delivery on Sunday in an effort to appease Teamster concerns, although that did not seem to earn much goodwill from opposition. The debate wore on, but in the end Minnesotans will have tie their hopes to an amendment passing in the House. The Senate amendment came close to passing, but lost by only a handful of votes, a significant improvement over the last time the bill was heard in the Senate.

Once all the fireworks were over the Senate passed the bill. Sunday growlers sales, distillers selling their own products, 8am bar openings, and MN brewpub beer at the MN State Fair all made it through unscathed. I just hope someone alerts the Minnesota craft brewers that they’ll be spreading out their growler sales across 7 days, they may not want that option.

Following the Senate floor session several people took to twitter to both shame their legislators and thank them. #SundaySalesMN was a trending topic well into the evening hours.

The path to Sunday liquor sales is through the House

As disappointing as losing vote is in the Senate, it shouldn’t be a total surprise. The Senate is usually the more “reserved” of the two bodies. Pile on that that Senate Majority Leader Bakk doesn’t support it and a 28 – 34 vote looks good. However, all is not lost for those supporting a repeal of the Sunday liquor sales ban. The House Speaker has assured a vote on a Sunday sales amendment, and he thinks if it passes it will become law. The most likely scenario for that to happen would be conference committee that settles differences between the House and Senate bills.

“It has a 50-50 shot of getting added,” as an amendment, Daudt told the station. “If it does get added, I believe it will become law.”
– Star Tribune April 10, 2015

Sunday Liquor Sales – How They Voted

S.F.1238 Amendment
Last Name First Name Party Vote
Anderson Bruce D. R N
Bakk Thomas M. DFL N
Benson Michelle R. R Y
Bonoff Terri E. DFL Y
Brown David M. R N
Carlson Jim DFL N
Chamberlain Roger C. R excused
Champion Bobby Joe DFL Y
Clausen Greg D. DFL N
Cohen Richard DFL N
Dahle Kevin L. DFL Y
Dahms Gary H. R N
Dibble D. Scott DFL Y
Dziedzic Kari DFL N
Eaton Chris A. DFL N
Eken Kent DFL N
Fischbach Michelle L. R excused
Franzen Melisa DFL Y
Gazelka Paul E. R N
Goodwin Barb DFL excused
Hall Dan D. R Y
Hann David W. R Y
Hawj Foung DFL Y
Hayden Jeff DFL N
Hoffman John A. DFL N
Housley Karin R Y
Ingebrigtsen Bill R N
Jensen Vicki DFL N
Johnson Alice M. DFL N
Kent Susan DFL Y
Kiffmeyer Mary R Y
Koenen Lyle DFL N
Latz Ron DFL N
Limmer Warren R N
Lourey Tony DFL N
Marty John DFL Y
Metzen James P. DFL N
Miller Jeremy R. R Y
Nelson Carla J. R Y
Newman Scott J. R Y
Nienow Sean R. R Y
Ortman Julianne E. R Y
Osmek David J. R Y
Pappas Sandra L. DFL Y
Pederson John C. R N
Petersen Branden R Y
Pratt Eric R. R Y
Reinert Roger J. DFL Y
Rest Ann H. DFL N
Rosen Julie A. R N
Ruud Carrie R N
Saxhaug Tom DFL N
Scalze Bev DFL Y
Schmit Matt DFL Y
Senjem David H. R Y
Sheran Kathy DFL excused
Sieben Katie DFL Y
Skoe Rod DFL N
Sparks Dan DFL N
Stumpf LeRoy A. DFL N
Thompson Dave R Y
Tomassoni David J. DFL N
Torres Ray Patricia DFL N
Weber Bill R N
Westrom Torrey N. R N
Wiger Charles W. DFL N
Wiklund Melissa H. DFL N



About the author

Andrew is just a guy that likes beer. You can usually find him on the twitters or spending time with his family.