Minnesota state legislators on Monday paved the way for state liquor stores to sell alcohol on Sundays, ending a prohibition that has stood since statehood.
The legislation allowing Sunday sales passed the state Senate on Monday, after sailing through the state House by a wide margin last week.
Senators and representatives must still iron out minor differences between the two versions of the bill — one version would allow sales to begin on Sundays at 10 a.m., while the other would allow sales to start at 11 a.m.
But once those disputes are ironed out in a conference committee, the bill is all but certain to become law. Gov. Mark Dayton (D) has said he will not veto the bill.
The debate over whether to allow Sunday sales has raged inside Minnesota’s Legislature for decades. Bipartisan groups of legislators coalesced on both sides of the debate. This year marked the first time since Minnesota became a state, in 1858, that a Sunday sales law even passed one of the two legislative chambers.
Minnesota would become the 39th state to allow stores to sell beer, wine and liquor on Sundays, and the 17th since 2002.
States that have dropped Sunday blue laws between 2002 and 2006 showed a 4.4 percent increase in sales in the first year those sales were allowed, according to a report by the Distilled Spirits Council, an industry advocate.