Friday, December 19, 2014

City should join other communities in Sunday liquor sales


Salina is the latest in a growing list of cities in Kansas that are turning away from the antiquated idea that beer and liquor shouldn’t be sold on Sundays.

Since the state lifted a ban on Sunday sales, the door has been opened for cities and counties to allow the sale of spirits on the traditionally “dry” day of the week. Communities throughout the state have responded - with grocery and liquor stores taking advantage of a new opportunity to expand their business. Even Carry Nation’s hometown of Medicine Lodge moved away from the temperance leader’s ax-wielding position and now allows the Sunday sale of liquor.

Hutchinson, like Ottawa, however, remains on the sidelines with its continued prohibition.

The issue has created strange bedfellows of some in the religious community, who would prefer liquor be banned on Sundays, and liquor store proprietors who enjoy a mandatory day off each week.

Yet Sundays haven’t been truly dry for a long time. Consumers can stock up on Saturday and drink to their heart’s content on Sunday. Likewise, a short drive to several small towns in Reno County will land a customer at an open door, and a shopkeeper ready and willing to take his money.

It is difficult to buy the idea that Sunday is a day reserved for rest when Hutchinson’s restaurants are filled to capacity on Sunday afternoons with people still clutching their church bulletins.

Likewise, a move to allow Sunday sales in Hutchinson wouldn’t require any liquor store to open its doors on Sunday. They might feel the pressure from the store down the road that is eager for extra business on a Sunday afternoon, but it is a pressure each store owner can chose to ignore.

No logical, moral or fiscal reason remains for Hutchinson to hold on to an old prohibition that has been lifted elsewhere throughout the state. It is beyond time for Hutchinson to move into the modern era and allow liquor sales on Sunday.

Like the Salina City Commission did, the Hutchinson City Council should approve Sunday sales, then let it stand for a protest petition if enough people are in opposition to challenge the change and put it to a vote.

— The Hutchinson News

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