Wednesday, April 29, 2015

No Sunday Fun day

Someday soon, Minnesotans will be able to purchase alcohol from liquor stores without having to visit our neighboring states. But not in 2015.

Well, it was close. Or at least closer.

On Tuesday afternoon, House lawmakers voted 75-57 to kill an amendment to a broader liquor bill that would have allowed local governments to chose whether their stores could sell beer on Sundays. Minnesota is one of just 12 states that have the ban, and no states on the border prohibit liquor purchases on Sundays. Supporters say Minnesota is losing out on business every Sunday to states like Wisconsin.

“Eden prairie is different than Ely, we have different needs across the state, and all this does is says the local government is the body that should decide,” argued Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, the author of the amendment. “They are fully capable of making this decision, and if this is something your community wants, your local government should have the ability to make that choice.”

Even though Sunday liquor sales was shot down in the Senate two weeks ago, the hope was that it would pass the House via an amendment and then be part of the final Omnibus Liquor Bill in conference committee. Alas, it was not to be.

Here is how the House voted (Yes=green; No=red):

Photo courtesy of MPR News

What's most disappointing is the GOP is supposed to be the party of free markets, yet nearly a third of its House members voted "No." This is the type of vote which may result in free market advocates putting up a primary challenge against those Republicans next year. And if you think this inclination is merely because some Minnesotans are angry they can 't purchase booze on a Sunday, then you are missing the greater point. This is about private enterprises having the option to conduct commerce if they so choose.

While I've never been a huge fan of the "purity tests" which right-of-center voters like to impose upon Republican politicians, I am totally on board holding a member's feet to the fire if they can't, at the very minimum, support free enterprise.

Silver lining (and perhaps a little self-serving): Both my state Senator and House member voted "Yes."

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