The Minnesota Legislature could be in for lively floor debates Thursday as the Senate takes on its omnibus liquor bill—where attempts to repeal the ban on Sunday sales is likely to come up on the floor, while the House takes on a litany of gun bills.
Liquor: The Senate is scheduled to take up the liquor bill during an 11 a.m. floor session. The omnibus bill includes a number of measures like allowing Sunday growler sales from taprooms and the so-called “Bloody Mary bill,” which allows 8 a.m. Sunday sales at some restaurants and hotels. But like its House counterpart, it’s absent a measure to repeal the state’s 80-year-old ban on Sunday liquor sales. However, House Speaker Kurt Daudt said last week that he guarantees it will come up on the House floor, and has a 50-50 chance of passing. If it does clear the House, Daudt said, it’s likely to become law. Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk said he also expects Sunday sales to arise on the floor, though its chances of passing are “unlikely.” Bakk said the bill’s larger hurdle is in the House. Last year the Senate rejected a Sunday sales amendment 42-22, while in 2013 it was voted down by the House 106-21.
A bipartison coalition of Sunday sales proponents expressed renewed hope for a repeal this session, after House Speaker Kurt Daudt changed course, saying he now backs Sunday sales. However, repeal opponents including the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association have also maintained their own strong lobbying efforts, saying liquor stores would be forced to open Sundays to keep up with larger competitors, increasing costs without profits.
Guns: The same afternoon, the House is scheduled to take up a handful of gun-related bills on the floor. The schedule includes repealing the state’s ban on firearm suppressors—more commonly known as silencers—a term disliked by suppressor proponents who say they cut down on the noise of a gunshot, but don’t silence a firearm completely. The suppressor debate packed a House committee hearing last month, where both opponents and proponents gave their impassioned viewpoints.
Other measures include removing the requirement for gun owners with a permit to carry to notify the Department of Public Safety before they enter the Capitol armed, and a measure to make it easier for firearms dealers and collectors to sell weapons to buyers in states not bordering Minnesota.