April 14 2008, 1:00 PM
It's official. Beginning July 1, Coloradans will be able to purchase liquor on Sundays. Gov. Bill Ritter signed the bill into law today. We now join 34 other states that allow Sunday liquor sales. Gov. Ritter explained his reasoning after signing the bill today:
"I think the reason for putting these in place had to do with people looking at Sundays and sort of protecting Sundays, in a sense, because it was the Christian Sabbath," said Ritter. "The argument in this building about doing away with this blue law was not so much about that. In fact, it wasn't at all about that." Ritter says the reason for changing the law had to do with business interests.....we've taken a very close look at the commercial interests that really are at stake here."Liquor stores didn't like the bill but the other bill coming down the pike, which they may have headed off, was one that would have allowed grocery and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer and wine:
Grocers and convenience stores say the law will cut into their profits because they can only sell 3.2 beer, which they say is less desirable to consumers. A coalition of 1,000 convenience and grocery stores urged lawmakers to introduce a bill to abolish 3.2 beer requirements and allow them to sell full-strength beer . "This is like encouraging retailers to compete for light bulb business but legally limiting them to selling only candles," Duffy said. "If Colorado wants to truly benefit consumers, it's time to let all beer retailers sell the same products and let the market decide. It's not the government's job to pick winners and losers in a free economy."The grocers and convenience store owners aren't giving up. Even though a bill to allow them to sell full-strength beer and wine was killed in committee in February, they are going to try again, perhaps by introducing a late bill.
They can introduce a bill if they get permission from the Senate or the House for an introduction of a late bill," said Sen. Jennifer Veiga, D-Denver, who sponsored the Sunday liquor bill -- SB 82. "With an issue like this, that's extremely controversial, that would be very difficult." Yet convenience stores are banning together for approval of a late bill.