Omnibus liquor bill passed by the House

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College football fans might be able to purchase alcohol at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium.

A portion of the omnibus liquor bill would authorize sale of alcohol during intercollegiate football games at the stadium. Alcohol would be available to the general public as well as those seated in suites.

Sponsored by Rep. Joe Atkins (DFL-Inver Grove Heights) and Sen. Chris Gerlach (R-Apple Valley), HF2784/ SF2392* also includes provisions relating to farm winery licenses, wine tastings, liquor store clothing sales and out-of-state craft brewers. Passed as amended 107-16 by the House, the bill now returns to the Senate where it was passed 58-4 Wednesday.

An avid fan and alumni of the university, Atkins said the bill was a fair compromise to bring alcohol to the stadium.

The bill received criticism from some lawmakers. Rep. Mike Benson (R-Rochester) said that the change could harm a family-friendly dynamic at Gopher games. “It doesn’t take very much before a person’s tongue is loosened and the kind of comments that come from that lack of inhibition make for a terrible experience.”

Members also heard a series of amendments, including two similar measures unsuccessfully introduced by Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) and Rep. John Kriesel (R-Cottage Grove) that would authorize liquor stores to operate on Sundays.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Mpls) unsuccessfully offered two amendments intended to reduce binge drinking among minors. Her amendments would allow those under age 21 to drink at on-sale locations with guardians and those ages 19-20 to drink at on-sale locations independently.

“I continually pride myself on being the legislator with the wettest voting record and the driest lifestyle,” she said.