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Sunday liquor sales stalled in Minnesota

ST. PAUL - Minnesotans must loudly demand that lawmakers approve Sunday alcohol sales if the proposal has a chance to pass, its Senate sponsor says.

Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, said the House is not going to consider a Sunday sales bill this year, so he will not pursue it unless the public raises a ruckus about the issue.

"I'm to the edge of my ability to do something," the senator said.

He said he learned his lesson two years ago when he got the bill to allow liquor stores to be open on Sundays and holidays through a Senate committee, but it died when the House would not take action.

The Senate Commerce Committee heard Reinert's bill Monday, but did not take action on it or most other liquor proposals it heard.

Reinert said Sunday sales supporters need to organize if his bill has a chance. He suggested an email campaign and perhaps a Capitol rally in support of the measure.

"The average Minnesotan thinks this is a no-brainer," Reinert said.

Representatives of many liquor stores said they could be forced to open on Sundays if the law passes.

Maryann Campo said her family has been involved in a Twin Cities liquor store since 1975.

"We don't feel it is financially feasible to do," she said of being open Sundays.

The Teamsters union, which represents many liquor store workers, expressed its strong opposition to working Sundays.

While the bill has little chance this year, it will be considered along with other proposals when Commerce Committee Chairman Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, puts together an overall liquor bill.

Three of the proposals would give micro-whiskey distillers the same rights as wineries: allow sampling at end of tours, sell one drink at the end of a tour and sell one bottle of whiskey.

Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, offered a proposal that would increase from 100,000 barrels a year to 250,000 the size of beer brewer eligible for state tax credits.