Our View: The annual liquor store debate
Every year the Minnesota Legislature gets a new version of an old bill, one to allow liquor stores to be open for business on Sundays.
For over 80 years, state law has decreed the that liquor stores should be closed on Sundays. It is the last vestige of the “blue laws” that existed on many state’s books decades ago, intended to keep Sundays free for worship, or a day of rest. Not just liquor stores, but lots of other commercial businesses were prohibited. Over the years, as people started to want to use their day of rest for shopping, the laws were repealed. A Sunday liquor ban still remains in Minnesota, one of only 12 states to have it.
The push to repeal it comes from people who want to be able to purchase liquor on Sunday, and from people who think the state shouldn’t be telling business when they can or can’t operate. Opposition comes from the liquor industry itself, which thinks small liquor stores will lose money if they have to open on Sunday. The few Sunday liquor sales won’t cover the expense of opening on Sunday.
This year, an influx of new legislators has Sunday liquor proponents hoping that the bill will finally pass. Maybe it should, if only to reward the perseverance of its proponents. We don’t think it will cause much harm to allow liquor stores to open on Sunday. Those store owners who think they’ll lose money should be allowed to stay closed. It’s their business. But they shouldn’t expect the state to keep their competitors from engaging in business at the same time.