MN lawmakers predict Sunday liquor tweaking

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A customer browses the more than 8,000 types of wines at Total Wine in Roseville, Minn. July 29, 2014. Total Wine's large selection and low prices could threaten the business of smaller liquor stores in the area.

Minnesota’s longtime ban on Sunday liquor sales is set to end this weekend, but two key lawmakers say the issue might not be fully resolved.

The House and Senate authors of the bill passed this year to allow stores the option of opening on Sundays between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. say they expect efforts as soon as next session to expand the hours.

Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said he’s been hearing from local store owners who want to be able to open earlier.

“They feel like there’s going to be an early morning rush on Sundays that they’re going to miss out on, whether they’re camping or boating, fishing, hiking, whatever that might be,” Miller said. “We want liquor stores really to have that flexibility.”

The 11:00 a.m. open was part of Miller’s Senate bill last session, and that's what made it into the bill that was ultimately signed into law. A previous House version, sponsored by Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, called for a 10:00 a.m. open on Sundays. Loon said she too anticipates efforts to adjust the hours.

Both Loon and Miller said they plan to mark the start of Sunday sales by visiting liquor stores in their districts. Loon said the change is historic and brings more freedom to the market place.

“Not everybody will want to do it, which is totally fine,” Loon said. “The whole point is to allow store owners to be open the days of the week that they wish to be and for customers to be able to shop when it’s convenient for them.”

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