HARTFORD — On Tuesday, the legislature’s General Law Committee approved a bill that brings Connecticut one step closer to alcohol sales on Sundays.
The bill, which is commonly known as the “Sunday sales” bill, that was approved out of the committee is a bipartisan alternative to original legislation proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy that would have drastically changed regulations of the alcohol industry in the state, according to a release issued by the office of state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), a ranking member of the committee.
Malloy’s proposal would have eliminated the state minimum pricing regulations, created a medallion system that would allow owners to open up a liquor store in any town regardless of how many stores are already open in that town, extended the allowable number of package stores owned by a single permittee from two to nine, and allowed for convenience stores to obtain a permit to sell beer.
These measures decidedly favored the creation of big box retailers at the expense of mom-and-pop stores who would be undercut by larger businesses’ buying power and storage capacity, the release stated. These far-reaching policies, which were estimated to put hundreds of package stores out of business, prompted hundreds of people to visit the Capitol and express their opinions on the bill, the release stated.
However, the release stated, many consumers were clamoring for the opportunity to have increased convenience and the potential for lower prices.
The bipartisan compromised bill approved by the committee includes measures to allow package stores to be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, to extend the number of package stores owned by a single permittee from two to three, and to allow retailers to choose one item per month at up to 10 percent below cost.
“As a Ranking Member of the General Law Committee, I am proud that this bill is a testament to the committee’s legacy of true bipartisanism as state Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8) and I have worked closely with the Democratic chairs to make this bill a balance between consumer convenience and the needs of small businesses,” Rebimbas said in the release. “The alcohol industry is regulated for good reason. I’m pleased that we’ve developed a workable proposal that can be supported by both package stores and policymakers.”
The bill will now go before the House of Representatives for debate and a final vote.