The Minnesota Senate will vote on a bill that would lift the state’s ban on Sunday liquor sales this Monday, Feb. 27, at 11am. The bill’s chief author, Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona), said he expects it to pass.
“I wouldn’t bring it to the floor if I didn’t think it has the votes to pass,” Sen. Miller said on Friday afternoon.
However, due to a discrepancy between the Senate and House versions of the Sunday sales bills, an approval from the Senate on Monday likely won’t mean the legislation is headed for the governor’s desk. The Senate version limits the hours of operation for liquor retailers on Sundays to 11am–6pm, while the House version sets the hours of operation at 10am–6pm.
Sen. Miller said he’s standing firm on an 11am opening time after some members of the Senate heard concerns from the religious community about a possible 10am opening time. Sen. Miller said he and the author of the House bill, Rep. Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), have been in contact about the discrepancy but have been unable to reach a compromise on the issue.
That sets up a few possible scenarios for the future of the legislation: If the Senate passes the bill as-is it would be sent back to the House, which would then vote to either concur with Senate version or reject it. If the House concurs, the bill would head to the governor’s desk with an 11am opening time. If it rejects the language, that would trigger the conference committee process, which brings together lawmakers from both legislative bodies to hash things out. Whatever decision the conference committee lands on would then need to be voted on by both the House and Senate before heading to the governor for his signature, which he’s stated he’d grant.
If the Senate votes down the legislation on Monday, Sunday sales is likely dead for the current legislative session.
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