The Law Blog of Oklahoma

Liquor on Sundays in Oklahoma?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Slowly but surely, Oklahoma is taking steps to modernize its liquor laws, largely regarded as outdated by most people in the state and surrounding areas.Last November, voters approved a measure which would allow wine and "high point beer" to be sold in grocery and convenience stores.

Now, the Oklahoma Senate has passed a measure that could also allow the sale of wine and liquor on Sundays, a day on which liquor stores are currentlyrequired by law to be closed.

The Senate approve Senate Bill 211, which would allow county commissioners to call a vote on the issue of liquor sales on Sunday. Alternately, countycitizens could force a vote with a petition including the signatures of 15 percent of the number of registered voters who cast their votes for governorin the last county election. This means that the decision to allow the sale of liquor would be a county-by-county vote. So, while you may be able tobuy liquor on Sundays in Oklahoma County, your neighbors in Logan or Canadian counties may not enjoy the same liberty.

The law would help level the playing field between retailers who recently won the right to sell beer and liquor in their establishments and liquor stores,who are currently required by law to be closed on Sundays. Because grocery stores and convenience stores will be able to sell wine and full-strengthbeer seven days a week beginning in October 2018, it would be unfair to require liquor stores--which may already suffer as a result of the grocerystore sales--to remain closed on Sundays.

Senator Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, said of the bill, "It doesn't seem equitable, in my opinion, for them to have to be closed when they may be selling grocery itemsand the same beer and wine that a grocery store or convenience store is selling. From my perspective, you're able to buy mixed beverages in arestaurant or bar, so you should be allowed the opportunity to purchase them and take them home and enjoy them in the comfort of your home."

However, the decision to allow counties to decide whether or not to allow liquor stores to open on Sundays is not a done deal. While the measure has passedthe Senate, it moves on to the House for consideration.

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