A majority of Minnesotans support Sunday liquor sales. And every year, as another generation of Minnesotans runs out of beer for a Sunday cookout for the first time, that support rises.
And yet the Minnesota Senate killed an amendment to an omnibus booze bill that would have legalized Sunday liquor sales for the first time.
In a state where taxes are booming and small business is being strangled, it seems like a minor issue – and it is. But it’s also a no-brainer if you claim to support limited government and scaling back on pointless, mindless regulation – which are things Republicans talk about a lot.
Walter Hudson goes over the reasons,and finds them wanting:
While liquor stores near the border may clamor to compete with stores in surrounding states who enjoy a surge of business from exiled Minnesotans each Sunday, most of the liquor industry likes their state-mandated day off. Union contracts would have to be renegotiated if Sunday sales were legal. Routines would have to be adjusted. Staff might need to be hired and trained. Things would change, and change is icky.
Other special interests include moralizing theocrats who believe the state should force others to conform to their religious preferences, along with mother hens concerned that a seventh day of drinking invites untold carnage…Can you smell the nanny-statism? Do you see the cronyism at work? This is why rank-and-file activists and average everyday Minnesotans find this issue so provocative. There’s no plainer case of special interests wielding undue and wholly illegitimate influence over the rights of individuals.
And you’d think this’d be a no-brainer for Republicans.
And for a little over half the Senate GOP caucus, you’d be wrong. While the DFL voted overwhelmingly to kill the Amendment, at the behest of their union benefactors and one of the state’s main booze-retail lobbies, the Senate GOP also voted 14-12 to kill the amendment. Here are the votes. And the s
And while it is a minor issue – to me more than most, since I go to liquor stores maybe once or twice a year – Hudson explains as capably as any I’ve read why that makes it, in some ways, even more important:
Why does this issue matter? Because if we can’t conjure the political will to overcome special interests in defense of individual rights when it barely matters at all, how are we going to champion rights when the stakes are huge?
If we can’t achieve consensus on the political Right that people should be free to open their businesses when they please, how are we going to win the argument that parents should educate as they please, or that individuals should own their healthcare, or that any of us own our life in any meaningful way? If the legislature can cite some social benefit to banning Sunday sales, why can’t they cite a social benefit to banning anything imaginable?
While 12 of the GOP caucus supported the Amendment (proposed by Branden Petersen, who is fast turning into the Rand Paul of the MN State Senate, and I mean that as a good thing), we need to have a word with Bruce Anderson, Gary Dahms, Michelle Fischbach, Paul Gazelka, Dan Hall (to whom I give a partial pass at voting for a higher principle as a Catholic lay priest, but it’s only a partial pass), Bill Ingebrigtsen, Mary Kiffmeyer, Warren Limmer, Carla Nelson, John C. Pederson, Eric Pratt, Julie A. Rosen, Bill Weber and the normally-excellent Torrey Westrom.