A bill working its way through the state House of Representatives would allow bars to stay open until 4 a.m. during Super Bowl week in 2018.
The NFL’s annual grand finale will be Feb. 4, 2018, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The measure would affect establishments serving alcohol in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Local licensing jurisdictions would be able to impose a fee of no more than $250 to issue a permit for the added hours.
The bill — House File 217 — was introduced Thursday and passed to the Commerce and Regulatory committees. It would need to be approved by the full House and Senate and signed by the governor before it becomes law.
It would apply from noon Friday, Feb. 2, to 4 a.m. Monday, Feb. 5.
State Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said he has no problem with the bill.
“It’s obviously a worldwide party taking place in Minneapolis,” he said. “Let them stay open 24 hours.”
In 2014, the Legislature passed a similar bill that allowed bars in Minneapolis to stay open until 4 a.m. on the night of the All-Star baseball game. Thirty bars applied for and received permits for that night.
Rep. Andrew Carlson, R-Bloomington, said he also supports the measure.
“As a suburban representative, having a lot of hotels and restaurants within the city of Bloomington it provides an extra boost in business during those three days,” he said.
Carlson said having the bill in place now allows time for the permitting process to take place.
Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano, signed on to the bill but said he is second-guessing himself just a bit. “How much more do you need people to intoxicate themselves?”
Still, he said, “I’m for freedom. … I’m generally not for government telling businesses when they can stay open. I hope the local bars and restaurants make more money. So, too, it’s going to cost the taxpayers more money in extra police, security. It’s going to be a wash.”
A more controversial bill would allow off-sale liquor sales on Super Bowl Sunday; it is to get a hearing by the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday. It would allow liquor stores to stay open seven days a week, not just on Feb. 4, 2018.