Archive for Monday, December 8, 2003

Kansas Supreme Court hears arguments about Sunday liquor sales

December 8, 2003


— It was city vs. state today in arguments before the Kansas Supreme Court over whether to allow the Sunday sale of liquor.

A lower court ruling has opened the door to communities, including Lawrence, to allow Sunday sales. That decision out of Wyandotte County was appealed by Atty. Gen. Phill Kline and bumped up to the state high court.

Arguing before the court, Julene Miller, a deputy attorney general, said cities can't de-criminalize a behavior that the state Legislature has prohibited.

"They have flipped the police power on its head," Miller said.

But Henry Couchman, an attorney representing the unified government of Wyandotte County and the city of Edwardsville, said cities can opt out of state statutes if the statute is "non-uniform," meaning that it fails to apply the same regulations statewide.

The Liquor Control Act has several sections that provide different types of regulations for different situations.

"Cities can exempt themselves from laws that aren't uniform," Couchman said.

The earliest the court will decide the case is Jan. 30, though a ruling could take longer. In the meantime, lawmakers are expected to debate the issue when the legislative session starts in January.

Since the lower court decision, more than a dozen cities have decided to allow liquor stores to sell on Sundays, including Lawrence where liquor stores opened for business on Sundays in September.

For more on this story, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Journal-World.

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