Archive for Friday, April 30, 2004

Senate rejects Sunday liquor sales

House vote could end extra day to purchase alcohol in Lawrence

April 30, 2004


— The Senate defeated an attempt Thursday to allow Sunday liquor sales throughout Kansas, but the issue could be resurrected before legislators adjourn for the year.

Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina, offered the Sunday sales provision as an amendment to a larger bill clarifying that all provisions of the Liquor Control Act apply uniformly to all Kansas cities and counties.

Inconsistencies in the Liquor Control Act have been cited by at least 14 cities and one county in exempting themselves from Kansas' long-standing ban on Sunday sales of alcohol -- a position upheld last year by the Kansas Supreme Court.

The uniformity bill now heads to the House, which voted last year to allow Sunday sales. If the measure becomes law in its current form, communities that now allow Sunday sales would be forced to stop.

Brungardt said the issue was whether legislators could "roll back the clock."

"I don't think you can put the genie back in the bottle, nor do I think we should," he said.

But Sen. Stan Clark, R-Oakley, said Sunday was the only day some fathers were sober, and that could change if the state allowed alcohol sales on that day.

"This is terrible policy, and I would just plead with you to say 'no,"' he said.

The Senate defeated Brungardt's amendment 19-16 before approving the bill itself on a vote of 27-12 vote.

If the House rejects the bill without Sunday sales, it would be sent to a conference committee, where negotiators could reinsert the Sunday sales provisions.

Most legislators agree that uniformity in the liquor code is necessary to prevent cities from exempting themselves from of other provisions in the law, including the legal drinking age of 21.

"Six years ago this chamber passed uniform liquor laws and couldn't get the House to agree," said Majority Leader Lana Oleen, R-Manhattan. "I encourage this body to support this measure and get it to conference."

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