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Lawmaker seeks to allow Sunday liquor sales in Minn.

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MOORHEAD – Anyone looking for off-sale liquor on Sundays better stay on the North Dakota side of the river because Minnesota stores are closed.

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For now.

If a bill from Minnesota state Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Edina, passes, liquor stores will have the option of opening Sundays like stores in all bordering states, including North Dakota.

Local liquor store managers say they don’t think the law change would affect their business much, but Loon said the issue, which the Legislature has rejected in the past, is now receiving more support than ever across the state.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said in late December, a few weeks before Loon’s bill was introduced Jan. 13, that Loon’s bill was introduced Jan. 13, that he would sign a bill for Sunday liquor sales if it was presented to him, she said.

Local liquor stores

Moorhead City Manager Michael Redlinger said that in his six-year tenure with the city, he has not heard from liquor store owners asking to push for a change, nor has it been a topic of discussion for the City Council.

“It has never been an option,” he said.

Neighborhood Services Manager Lisa Vatnsdal said it seems as though residents of Fargo-Moorhead are used to the discrepancy between the two states.

Allen Dukart, general manager for all Hugo’s Wine and Spirits stores in Grand Forks and in East Grand Forks, Minn., said he doesn’t think opening Minnesota stores Sundays would affect his business much.

“Either way, the customers will be served,” Dukart said. If open on Sunday, the East Grand Forks store would probably see more traffic, but the Grand Forks stores would probably see a little less, he said.

In Fargo-Moorhead, where Bottle Barn operates one store in Moorhead and two on the North Dakota side, mangers said they, too, doubted there would be much of a change in business for any of the stores.

‘Outdated’

Loon said she has received many emails from people all around Minnesota supporting the option of opening liquor stores on Sundays.

She added that there has also been a lot of social media buzz in support of the bill, and that she’s “encouraged by the positive feedback.”

For Loon, the bill is about providing “more local control to communities,” she said. The law change would not mandate opening liquor stores on Sundays.

“Local communities can certainly set up more strict rules” if they want, Loon said. “I think it should be up to communities.”

Only 12 states currently prohibit selling off-sale liquor on Sundays, Loon said. Minnesota’s law was put in place in the 1930s at the end of Prohibition, she said, calling the law “outdated.”

All states bordering Minnesota allow liquor sales on Sundays, Loon said.

North Dakota repealed its Sunday off-sale liquor restriction in 1993.

Forum staff writer Wendy Reuer contributed to this report.

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Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
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