Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Should liquor stores be open on Sunday?

Several years ago I noted that Texas has some rather strange liquor laws. Now, a local legislator would like to do away with one of them:
Democratic Rep. Senfronia Thompson filed a bill last week that proposed liquor stores be allowed to operate seven days a week.

Under the current law, liquor stores may operate from Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The stores must close on Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. If Christmas or New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, the stores must close the following Monday, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
Religious arguments aside, I've yet to hear a valid reason why liquor stores should not be open on Sundays.

I get that there is a segment of the state population that opposes alcohol consumption and wants to discourage people from drinking, if only for one day out of the week. But beer and wine are already available on Sundays from noon to midnight at grocery and convenience stores. The hard stuff is already available on Sundays, by the glass, at bars until 2 am. Keeping liquor stores closed on Sundays isn’t keeping anybody from drinking; it’s just keeping liquor store owners and employees from partaking in the money that Sunday drinkers are spending.

Additionally, the forced closure of liquor store on Sundays is costing the state a small amount of sales tax revenue: $7.5 million over every two years, according to the article.

Liquor stores aren't the only businesses targeted by these types of laws:
Another state law permits car dealerships to open on Saturday or Sunday, but not both.
Targeting liquor sales is one thing, but cars and trucks? Somebody's going to have to explain to me the rationale behind that law, because I've never understood it.

In any case, both these laws need to be repealed. It shouldn't be the state government's job to tell legitimate businesses what days they can and cannot be open.

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