With a vote of 38 yeas to 28 nays (with 1 Senator absent) the Minnesota State Senate passed Senate File 1086 this afternoon, repealing the ban on liquor stores from selling alcohol on Sundays. Today’s Senate vote fell one week since the Minnesota House passed the original bill 85 – 45.
While the bill has now passed the House and Senate it is not going to the governor yet as the Senate text is slightly different to the House version. The difference is in regards to the time that liquor stores are allowed to open in the morning. The House bill would allow stores to be open from 10 am to 6 pm while the Senate version is from 11 am to 6 pm. This small variance will need to be corrected in a conference committee and then repassed by both the House and Senate.
It is likely that the bill will go thru conference committee and be repassed leaving the final requirement of signing the bill to Governor Dayton, something he has said he intends to do if the bill pass. Assuming all that happens, Minnesotans can expect to be able to buy alcohol on Sundays in liquor stores that decide to open by July 2st, as that is the first Sunday after the July 1st enactment date.
The passage in the Senate was bipartisan as the yeas were evenly split with 19 Republicans and 19 Democrats, while the nays were 15 Republicans and 13 Democrats.
During the debate, Senators against the bill made arguments surrounding nostalgia for families spending Sundays together and arguments stating that this bill would make it more expensive for small liquor stores to operate. Proponents argued that the groundswell of public opinion on this issue that has built over the past few years should be enough reason for them to pass it. Besides that, supporters also pointed to the freedom that this grants liquor stores who wanted to be open on Sundays to do so.