House passes liquor bill without Sunday growlers

The Minnesota House overwhelmingly passed a liquor bill today.

It extends bar hours during this summer's Major League Baseball All-Star Game, extends alcohol sales at the University of Minnesota's football stadium and allows taprooms to open on Sundays.

It does not allow taprooms to sell the large beer bottles called growlers on Sundays.

Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said he took the unusual step of preventing the Sunday growler amendment, because Senate DFL leaders said they would not allow the provision to become law.

“We actually included Sunday growlers in the House file over here, but if we sent it over to the Senate with that provision I don't think they'll take the bill up," Atkins said.

Several members of the House said they were frustrated by Atkins’ procedural move. They said preventing amendments goes against the spirit of the chamber. They failed in their attempts to allow additional amendments to the bill and an attempt to say the proposal was out of order.

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Rep. Ernie Leidiger, R-Mayer, said lawmakers should be allowed to amend and debate the bill.

“You’re shoving it down everybody’s throat,” Leidiger said. “That’s the way it’s perceived and the people out there understand this. This is not the way to run this organization."

Senate DFL leaders say they oppose the Sunday growler measure because it could open the door to a broader push for Sunday liquor sales. The Teamster's Union also opposed it because they said it might require them to reopen contract negotiations with liquor distributors.

Officials with the craft brewing industry say allowing Sunday growler sales would provide an economic boost to an emerging industry.

The Senate could take up the House file and send it directly to Gov. Dayton. Conference committee members also have the option of putting the language in various conference committee reports.