The No-Brainer

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.

9 thoughts on “The No-Brainer

  1. in WI most but not all liquor stores close on Monday, a day traditionally with the lowest sales volume, no need for unions to renegotiate.

    but what we small govt types are not considering is all those selfless, tireless bureaucrats who regulate and watch over liquor sales to keep us safe from our inner demons. Sunday sales means hundreds, maybe thousands of new public employees will need to be hired (with the attendant benefits packages) to assure Minnesotans the safe and secure life they treasure so much. why would we want to recklessly increase govt expenditures in support of activities that harm so many people. If we believe in small govt we should reduce liquor sales to just one day a week (Tuesday).

  2. Perhaps those MN politicians in favor of the Sunday liquor sales prohibition would like to further their point and enact a prohibition on Sunday on-sales to all state funded sports facilities?

    This seems much like the legalization of MJ issue (medical and recreational). There are already so many other legal and potentially harmful (depending on who you ask) means to achieve intoxication that one more, be it MJ or an additional purchase day, would make no logical difference.

    About the only logical argument that could be made would the moral/ religious view that less “sin” is still less. Wasn’t that the original intent of the “blue laws” in the first place?

  3. Branden Petersen, who is fast turning into the Rand Paul of the MN State Senate…

    Support for that National Popular Vote thingy notwithstanding.

  4. Yes, limited government and personal responsibility.

    Liquor stores, as well as bars hours should be defined by the market.

  5. “A majority of Minnesotans support Sunday liquor sales.”

    A majority opposed the stadium, and a majority often stands in opposition to many things our government via elected officials do. I believe this. So, what’s the disconnect?

    We can blame voter fraud for a certain amount of trouble, especially when we get close calls like Franken and Dayton. Still, I can’t help but believe that the legal, sober, non-pandering majority of voters of any party could easily smite all those that seem to throw our wishes in our faces. Are the statistics false? If there’s a lot of good lotus being consumed, where can I get mine?

    I can live with just about anything that carries the public’s support. However, much of this doesn’t, and as far as I can see, we’re still holding regularly free elections and it seems that a fair amount of people show up. I’m really getting lost.

  6. I remember hearing on the radio a few months ago, a liquor store owner who called in against Sunday Sales, saying that their profit margins are so low, they’d end up losing money if they had to be open on Sundays. As is often the case with me, a couple months late and a dollar short:

    1) I have never in my life seen a liquor store go out of business unless they were in a strip mall that got closed down and bulldozed to be replaced by something else. I live within 2 miles of at least 5 liquor stores that have been in business since I’ve been geographically aware of my neighborhood, and that means for the last 30-35 years. There are more liquor stores within 10 minutes drive time of me than there were 10 years ago, let alone 20 or 30 years ago. To me, that doesn’t sound like a business/industry with razor thin profit margins…unless she was overpaying her employees, which is NOT MY PROBLEM.

    B) Maybe it’s my ignorance of the way businesses are forced to operate when unions are involved (is there a booze retailers union?), but if the ABILITY to be open on Sunday existed, does that mean that it would be MANDATORY to be open on Sundays? I know one the closest liquor stores to me didn’t change their hours of operation when the 8pm mandatory weekday close time got changed to 10pm a few (or several) years ago. They still close at 8pm.

  7. Oh, and this:

    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)

    Catholicism is about the only branch of Christianity that isn’t against, if not outright hostile to, alcohol consumption (outside of communion). I know at least 3 Catholic churches near me that have beer available at their yearly festivals. What gives, Sen Hall?

  8. About the only logical argument that could be made would the moral/ religious view that less “sin” is still less. Wasn’t that the original intent of the “blue laws” in the first place?

    My response to that stance is: I can buy beer at Cub 24/7 363 days per year, go home, and get drunk enough to get a DWI in a matter of 1 hour or less. If you REALLY want to reduce drinking, disallow grocery stores from selling beer.

    Some blue laws are just outright insane considering how our society has evolved in terms of retail “hours of operation” in the last 2-3 decades. Why can I go buy just about anything my heart desires on a Sunday, like furniture, a TV, any appliance, toys, carpet, clothing, a lawnmower, a motorcycle, a snowmobile, tools…but not a car? Hell, the Auto Show is open on Sundays.

    But, I’m sure the Auto Dealers union would raise a ruckus over allowing Sunday sales.

  9. There isn’t any reason to over-think this issue. I was a member of the Minnesota House and voted against Sunday liquor sales.

    There really aren’t many small, family owned, stand alone retail businesses anymore. Liquor stores are the ones that immediately come to mind and the situation in my district was common across the state.

    To state it simply, the small stand-alone, family run stores in my district begged me not to support the measure because they wanted one day off a week. If passed, they would be compelled to open on Sundays because you knew that Cub or MGM or some other big retailer would.

    That’s the reason that many legislators of the conservative bent vote the way they do on this issue. Its a nod to the (very) small retail business person that is rapidly going the way of the buggy whip.

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