Washington Governor Signs Bill Permitting Sunday Liquor Sales Today
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington Governor Christine Gregoire today signed into law long-overdue legislation permitting some Washington liquor stores to open on Sundays. Her signature on the bill will make Washington the 33rd state in the nation to overturn its outdated blue laws and will bring in a state-estimated $8.5 million in increased revenue to the state. “This is a victory for Washington consumers,” said Mark Gorman, Senior Vice President of the Distilled Spirits Council, the trade association for the nation’s distillers supporting the change. “Blue Laws –a holdover from the Prohibition era – make no sense in our 21st Century economy, as Sunday has become the second busiest shopping day of the week. We applaud the legislature and the Governor for taking this important step forward in modernizing their alcohol laws.” Under the legislation, the Washington Liquor Control Board can open up to 20 of the state’s 161 liquor stores for spirits sales on Sunday. In addition, the 158 stores operated by contract agents may open for business at their discretion. Washington is one of a growing national trend of states re-examining the rationale behind outdated Sunday sales prohibitions and other Blue Law restrictions as a way to benefit consumers while at the same time raising much needed revenues. In the past three years alone, 11 other states have rolled back their Blue laws bringing the total – with Washington – to 33 states that permit Sunday liquor sales. States which have recently passed Sunday sales legislation have seen immediate increases in sales, according to research conducted by Dr. Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University. His study found that sales at stores that opened on Sundays in the four states studied saw sales increases of up to 19.5 percent that in the twelve month period following the adoption of the new laws. Stores that opened on Sundays in Oregon, another “control state,” saw a 12.4 percent increase in sales compared to a growth rate of only 4.1 percent at all other stores. A complete copy of the study is available upon request.