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Connecticut Sunday Sales Initiative Passes Key Legislative Hurdle, Change Could Come Before Summer

March 20, 2012

Connecticut’s proposed Sunday alcohol sales initiative has cleared a key legislative hurdle, with the state legislature’s General Law Committee today voting in favor of a Sunday sales plan. The bill now moves on to the Joint Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. If passed there, it will be sent to the full House and Senate, which would have until May 9 (the legislative adjournment date) to approve it.

The bill calls for Sunday sales hours of 10 am to 5 pm, as well as sales on Memorial Day and certain other holidays. It would also raise the limit on store ownership to three stores from the current two. But overall, the bill is a sharply scaled down version of a sweeping proposal put forth in January by Governor Dannel Malloy. For example, Malloy’s plan had called for raising the limit on store ownership to nine. Also rejected were legalizing the sale of beer in c-stores, allowing bars to remain open until 2 am, eliminating minimum pricing and other deregulation moves that would have favored big box retail chains.

Still, today’s vote represents a significant step for Sunday sales backers. Malloy said he’d reserve judgment on the revised proposal until he sees the bill in its final form. It’s possible that the minimum pricing elimination and increase in store ownership to nine could be reinstated into the bill.

If passed, Sunday sales would go into effect immediately, with some additional initiatives becoming effective July 1. Connecticut is one of only two states in the country (the other is Indiana) that bans the retail sale of all alcohol on Sundays.

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