Archive for Thursday, July 24, 2003

City repeals liquor sales in grocery stores

July 24, 2003


— The Leavenworth City Commission has unanimously rescinded a controversial decision to allow beer sales at grocery and convenience stores on Sundays.

Atty. Gen. Phill Kline had warned city leaders he would take action if the ordinance was not revoked.

The state's Liquor Control Act prohibits sales of liquor on Sundays, but several communities -- including Leavenworth and Lawrence -- have opted out of the law, passing ordinances allowing alcohol sales at liquor stores on Sundays. A Wyandotte County judge upheld ordinances in that county, and Kline's appeal is pending in the state Supreme Court.

However, Kline said all grocery and convenience stores were limited to selling only "cereal malt beverages" or beer with low alcohol content. Kline said the law was uniform to all grocery and convenience stores in the state and did not allow cities to opt out.

Leavenworth commissioners said Tuesday they didn't realize the decision would violate state law.

Mayor Laura Gasbarre said the vote Tuesday night was an attempt to rectify the situation. Gasbarre said she thought the commission should wait for the state Supreme Court to rule on Sunday sales.

"We were just trying to do the right thing and realized that this is the better way to achieve the goal," Gasbarre said.

If the state Supreme Court allows cities to override the Sunday ban on liquor store sales, some believe sales of wine, liquor and strong beer at grocery and convenience stores could follow because the same law that bans Sunday sales also prevents grocery stores and convenience stores from selling hard liquor.

Retail liquor stores in Leavenworth could begin Sunday liquor sales as early as Aug. 24.

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