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For first time ever, Minnesota House passes bill allowing Sunday liquor sales

For first time ever, Minnesota House passes bill allowing Sunday liquor sales

After years of debate on the issue, the Minnesota House passed a bill Monday to repeal the state's ban on Sunday liquor sales.

The GOP-controlled House passed the measure by a vote of 85-45. From our area, Representatives Tina Liebling and Duane Sauke, both of the DFL, joined Republican Nels Pierson in favor of the measure. Rep. Duane Quam, a Republican, voted against it.

The measure would allow liquor sales from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays (alcohol deliveries would still be prohibited). It would go into effect on July 1 of this year. It now heads to the Minnesota Senate. Gov. Mark Dayton has indicated in the past that he would sign off on a bill permitting Sunday sales.

"Blue laws," such as Minnesota's ban on Sunday liquor sales, were first introduced in the U.S. in the colonial days to outlaw certain secular activities on the Sabath. Banned activities included shopping, working and engaging in sexual intercourse. Violations of blue laws were subject to fines and public whippings.

While most blue laws faded away after the Revolutionary War, some continue to exist to this day. The most common restrictions involve the sales of automobiles and alcohol.

At the start of the 21st century, more than two dozen states had Sunday liquor bans. That number now stands at 12. The list is made up of mostly Bible Belt states: Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, Utah, Montana and Minnesota.

Supporters of Sunday sales argue it's an outdated law and prevents consumer choice. Opponents argue Sunday sales would increase costs to businesses and force people to work an extra day without any additional benefits. Previous attempts to change the law have been struck down with bipartisan opposition.

Cover photo: Licensed / Canva

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