- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - An effort to allow Sunday liquor sales is likely to return to the Minnesota Legislature when it convenes in January, and repealing so-called “blue laws” could stand a better chance with Republicans now controlling the House of Representatives.

Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, authored a bill last session that would have lifted the ban and allowed municipalities to decide hours and rules for Sunday sales. Loon said she will introduce a new bill in the first week of the upcoming legislative session, the St. Cloud Times reports (http://on.sctimes.com/1weUjKX ).

“Maybe 2015 will be the year,” Loon said. “It’s certainly building momentum from where we started a few years ago.”

Despite numerous attempts to the revoke state law, Minnesota is one of 12 states that ban liquor sales on Sundays. None of its neighboring states have similar bans.

Groups such as the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association support the ban, and some area liquor businesses say changing the law would hurt them financially.

Most Minnesota residents say they would like to be able to purchase liquor on Sunday, which is now one of the busiest retail shopping days of the week. Businesses could stay closed if they choose, Loon said.

“Nothing about removing a ban on Sunday sales forces anyone to buy liquor or to have their liquor store open on Sunday,” she said.

Loon said repealing the ban could provide an economic boost to Minnesota’s growing craft brewing industry and help companies build their brands.

Doug DeGeest, general manager and vice president of Cold Spring Brewing Co. and Third Street Brewhouse in Cold Spring, said he’s neutral about the issue. He said his businesses likely would not be open Sundays if the law changed because they are already open the other six days of the week.

Other area businesses said they don’t know if extra sales would merit staying open another day.

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Information from: St. Cloud Times, http://www.sctimes.com

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