While this seems like common sense legislation to many, there was considerable opposition. Much of that opposition came from liquor store owners who sought to preserve their state-mandated day off each week. Opponents argued that proponents were poor planners or possibly alcoholics. That opening on Sundays would simply spread six days of sales over seven; but beer coolers still run, leases aren't discounted if a business stays closed, and insurance costs remain 24/7/365 - even on the days with no revenue. Advocacy groups such as Minnesota Beer Activists and the MN Consumers First Alliance's Why Not Sundays campaign encouraged citizens to contact their legislators, conducted polls, and sent questionnaires to candidates for the state legislature.
The ban ended, however, due to the work of two other groups - the new members of the Minnesota Legislature who voted overwhelmingly for the change and citizens themselves. Many legislators who once had voted against lifting the ban, but voted for it this year said they were tired of hearing about it. That means one thing; regular Minnesotans in favor of lifting the ban were filling their e-mail boxes and call sheets. Good work, fellow Minnesotans. We've proved once again that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Normally this would be the end of the story, but March 12, the first Sunday after the legislation was signed, brought an interesting twist. More than three months before it is set to become legal, a Minneapolis liquor store opened its doors. The owner was advised to close over the phone by a city official and then again in person. Yet the store stayed open. Today it was announced a $2000 fine was levied and the store would have its license suspended for 30 days beginning July 2. The city went further saying if the store continues to open on Sundays prior to the period of the suspension, they'll seek revocation. The store owner has an opportunity to appeal, so stay tuned.