Liquor sales will soon be allowed on Sunday mornings in Michigan because of a compromise between state lawmakers and Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
The state Senate on Wednesday approved a bill by a 25-13 vote that would allow Sunday sales to begin at 7 a.m. for retailers paying an extra $160 annual fee. The state House later approved the bill by an 81-21 vote and was preparing to send the legislation to Granholm’s office.
Current law bans liquor sales from 2 a.m. to noon Sunday.
Granholm approves of the bill, spokeswoman Liz Boyd said.
“We worked with the Senate on this and we support as passed today,” Boyd wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.
Granholm – a term-limited Democrat – vetoed a similar bill earlier this year because it would have allowed other changes to state liquor policies that could have resulted in court challenges, such as one Michigan lost when it tried to limit alcoholic beverage sales by out-of-state businesses.
The new alcohol bill drops some of those provisions, particularly those related to catering and licenses for a handful of community colleges and universities.
Boyd has said the original Sunday liquor sales bill was eight pages long, but it swelled to 58 pages in September as lawmakers added provisions. Granholm rejected that bill, and the new version that passed the Senate on Wednesday is 52 pages long.
Some bars, restaurants and stores likely won’t pay the extra fee to allow Sunday sales. But others – especially those tied to golf courses and Sunday buffets – likely will pay the extra fee in the hope of improved sales.
Local governments will have the option to continue banning Sunday morning alcohol sales if they choose.
Michigan lawmakers have considered allowing Sunday morning sales for several years, but never agreed upon a final version that gained a governor’s signature.
The liquor bill is House Bill 6224.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)