Connecticut Alkies in Search of a Snort


In 1979, the Connecticut Supreme Court called shenanigans on mnay of the state's remaining blue laws. But more than 30 years later, it remains illegal to sell liquor, beer, or wine on Sundays or late at night. Once again this year, drinkers and shoppers have rallied to loosen the laws. And once again, they have come up against opposition from the very businesses they long to patronize. 

The ban on Sunday sales is essentially a legally-protected day off for liquor store owners, and a guarantee against competition from grocery stores and other shops with longer hours and more convenient locations. Sure, mom and pop package stores might make a little more money if they were open 7 days a week. But then they'd have to work…7 days a week. 

Each year, lobbying efforts quash the bill to change the rules at the last minute, usually by throwing a hodgepodge of arguments about protecting the state's children, discouraging church drunks, and anything else that sticks.

But things are different this year, with the governor signaling he would sign booze liberating legislation if it passed, especially if it means a little more revenue since Connecticut, like most states is Out of Money:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is not pushing for Sunday sales, which would yield some badly needed additional tax revenue for the state, though estimates of how much have fluctuated wildly over the years.

But unlike his predecessor, M. Jodi Rell, Malloy has announced publicly and told [blue law lobbyist Carroll] Hughes personally he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

The whole piece is full of quotable madness like this bit:

Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, an opponent of Sunday sales in years past, is ready to vote in favor….Maynard said he no longer can accept the argument that small package stores deserve protection that is not afforded to small sporting goods stores, who compete with big-box retailers.

Reason has been keeping an eye on the dampness of Connecticut's Sundays for years. Here's a piece from 2003, and one from last year

In other booze news, the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee just approved a bill that would legalize addtional hours of happiness in bars and restaurants.