- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota lawmakers appear ready to let football fans drink a bit later when the Super Bowl comes to Minneapolis in 2018.

A Senate committee heard a bill Tuesday to allow bars and restaurants in Hennepin and Ramsey counties to stay open two hours later than usual - until 4 a.m. for the late night partiers - on Super Bowl weekend. U.S. Bank Stadium is set to host the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, 2018. If passed, the extension would apply starting that Friday through Monday morning.

Sen. Karin Housley said her legislation is hardly different from past drinking-hour extensions granted for the 2008 Republican National Convention and the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Few bars took advantage of the extended hours in 2008 because of the $2,500 price tag to receive a permit, while about 30 bars stayed open late for the exhibition baseball game. Housley, a Republican from Saint Mary’s Point, said the permitting fee was reduced to $250 because of the tepid response in the past.

Senators asked few questions about the bipartisan legislation during the speedy portion of committee devoted to the bill that lasted under 10 minutes. Sen. Warren Limmer, a Maple Grove Republican, asked one of few questions about the bill, wondering why there’s a fee at all.

The bill could ultimately be wrapped into a package of other alcohol-related law changes later this year.

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