St. Paul, MN – Midway through the first Minnesota gubernatorial debate of 2014, incumbent Governor Mark Dayton, Republican candidate Jeff Johnson and Independence Party candidate Hannah Nicollet all agreed on one thing: It’s time for Sunday alcohol sales in Minnesota.
“The next Governor of Minnesota supports Sunday alcohol sales,” quipped Andrew Schmitt, Executive Director of the Minnesota Beer Activists, a coalition of consumers committed to passing Sunday alcohol sales. “Last session, thousands of activists sent emails and made phone calls to the Capitol asking to lift our Prohibition-era Sunday alcohol ban. Minnesota voters clearly want change and this is reflected in the statements made by each of our gubernatorial candidates. The question remains just how strongly each candidate supports Sunday sales, and whether they can persuade members of the Legislature to send a bill to the Governor’s desk.”
In the debate on Oct. 1, moderator Jay Furst asked whether liquor sales should be permitted on Sundays. Below are excerpted answers from each candidate – all of whom said yes:
Governor Mark Dayton
I don’t think that you should distinguish liquor…from other commodities that people want to buy…More and more of our population has a day of faith not on Sundays. So, it gets hard to isolate one day and say you can’t do this, you can’t do that.
Independence Party Candidate Hannah Nicollet
Any legal product should be able to be sold on any day. Sunday is a religious holiday for Christians. Friday night Sundown to Saturday night sundown is the Sabbath for Jewish people. So why did we pick Sunday in particular? It seems unfair to other faiths. But, regardless, any legal product should be able to be sold any day of the week. And if you’re a business owner and you want to close on Sunday, more power to you…Sixty percent of Minnesotans want Sunday alcohol sales, so why shouldn’t they have it?
Republican Candidate Jeff Johnson
Yes, and this is frustrating to me because everybody says let’s do it but the last two years there’s been a big push but there’s all DFL control. We can’t get it done for some reason. So, we’ll get it done if I’m governor.
“Sooner or later, public policy will catch up with the reality of the marketplace – and in the 21st Century, Sunday is a day of major commercial activity,” according to Dale Szyndrowski, Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council, a trade association that has supported lifting the Sunday sales ban in states across the country. “We urge the Legislature to pass Sunday sales for Minnesota businesses, consumers and the State Treasury.”
According to DISCUS, statewide Sunday sales of alcohol in Minnesota could generate between $10.8 and $15.1 million in new tax revenues for the state annually.
“Nationally, states are repealing outdated alcohol laws to increase consumer convenience and generate new revenue without raising taxes,” Szyndrowski said. “Like each candidate for Governor and the vast majority of Minnesotans – we believe it’s time for Sunday sales in Minnesota.”
Click here to watch the candidates answer the question about Sunday alcohol sales.