Episode Information

WWL: Liquor Laws, Outdated?
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
03/30/2009
Share this Content

In this episode:

It's a spirited issue

 

Contributor(s):
Episode Audio

40:38 minutes (19.51 MB)
Download this Episode

Ever wonder why you can buy alcohol on a Sunday in just about every other state but Connecticut?

Our state is one of fourteen that still hold tight to so called "blue laws" and one of three that continue to ban the sale of any kind at liquor stores on Sundays.

Now, some lawmakers are challenging these laws - saying that Sunday liquor sales could raise between 1.7 million and 2.3 million in additional taxes from the sale of distilled spirits alone - and even more when liquor and wine sales are added. 

Today, Where We Live, we'll explore the debate over Connecticut's blue laws and take a look at the history and future of liquor laws in Connecticut - from drinking at the casinos to buying a six pack on Sunday.  

Join the conversation!  Are we too strict in our liquor laws - or are we the land of steady habits for a good reason?


 
Related Content:
Links for this Episode:

Those who say that blue laws

Those who say that blue laws like banning the sale of liquer on Sundays protects mom and pop stores have a serious problem. If this is the argument for this ban, then why don't we ban the sale of other products like parts of New Jersey that ban the sale of electronic appliances on Sunday? How about house paint on Mondays and pots and pans on Fridays? This is nonsense. It's time to grow up. If you can't compete by being open on sunday, than you really should not be in business. The time has come. This state needs to catch up to the rest of the country. Also, allow all types of liquer to be sold at grocery stores. Now that's America. Home of the free.

Alcohol on state land

Recently my husband and I went on a weekend trip to CT.  We were travelling from NY and had all our luggage/food in our car.  We did not have a hotel room yet and stopped at Lake McDonough.  The sign outside the property said "No alcohol"  We stopped at the gate and paid $6 to get in and park. About a 1/4 of a mile into the park was the parking lot for the East Beach.  AT that point three MDC police officers stopped our car and said they were going to search it.  They asked if there was any alcohol in the car.  since they said they were going to search the car we told them that  we had 2 unopened bottles of wine that we would leave in the car.  They told us we could not have the wine in the car.  We said that we had nowhere to put it and would leave it with them or keep our cooler in the car.  They said that we had to get rid of it.  We drove back to the entrance and hid the wine in the woods.  We did not want someone to find it it was expensive wine that we intended to enjoy with our dinner that night.  When we went back to go to the parking lot the guy at the gate called on an walkie talkie and told the police officers that we had put our wine in the woods.  (This was after they let us pass to the lot)  A plice car came after us and told us we could not leave the alcohol on the property and must leave, put the alcohol somewhere off the property and pay again.  We thought that this was insane but we went back to the entrance and my husband walked out of the park while I stayed in the car inside the park.  Apparently, it annoyed the guards that we did not go out and pay again so they watched my husband leave and put the wine in deep grass outside the park.   We went into  the park again and enjoyed swimming in the lake.  When we left, we went to get our wine and it was gone.  In its place was a bag with an empty beer can and an empty bear bottle. The only people who could have known that the wine was there were the gate guards.  I have a few questions.  How can they not make the search before you pay, how can they search the car without probable cause, why wuold they not have a place for people to store things that cannot be brought into the park and why would they make you pay all over again within minutes of coming and going.  This was not private property but state owned land.  Can they prevent people over 21( middle aged couple) from having legal subastances in their cars.  The rules seem rather authoritarian for the USA.  I was appalled at the lack of concern for our private property that  was valued at abut $55.  We tried to be reasonable and to comply without the loss of our property and then were ripped off by the guards.  Shameful!!!

tom colapietro

Write to Tom Colapietro--State Senator in CT, who is holding up this issue being based to a state wide level for consideration. Research from other states (MA and PA) who have recently lifted this ban on Sunday liquor sales show a positive impact on state tax revenue.

Alcohol legislation Sunday

Hello John:

I am disappointed at the lack of depth of this segment.The issues of economics, small business versus larger business, increased tax revenue, consumer needs etc are all tangential. There is a clear legal aspect to this issue. The Sunday closing laws have their root in the religious aspect of the blue laws. Based on this fact the CT automobil dealer won a CT Supreme Court decision in the ealy '80s which declared the blue laws as unconstitutional and with that also the Sunday closing. The CT government is clearly operating in an illegal environment. The law is descriminatory on a religious basis. It is also a restraint of trade. Considering the fact that all elected officials took an oath promissing to uphold the law it begs the question: Confronted with this fact how do they feel?

 

Freedom?

I found it interesting that a lot of people who called into the show with opinions were not consumers.

I am a consumer.  I drink beer everynight of the week, and I often throw parties on the weekend, and love to have BBQs on Sunday now that the weather is getting nice.  I live in New Haven and I frequent the liquor store in my neighborhood. 3-4 times a week.

If the store owner wanted to be closed on Sunday, I would NOT stop doing business with him.  I would have to go somewhere else to make the purchase, but I would be relieved that I wouldn't have to go to New York. (We do that in New Haven too - it's not just border towns!).

At least make the sale of alcohol LEGAL in the state of CT.   Then allow each town make their own rules on the sale hours by town.  Small towns may want to keep liquor stores closed on sunday, but let the cities Hartford, New Haven, BPT have the ability to take on 7 days a week (won't this create jobs in the metropolis on sunday as well).  At least give us the FREEDOM to buy it at the local stop and shop if we want to.

That is what this is all about... FREEDOM!

 

 

Well said!

Well said!

Listener Email from Sam

I would like your State legislator guest to address the question about the protection of small businesses again-- your economist guest said he did a large statistical study CONFIRMING that repealing the blue laws would be bad for small businesses--and the legislator responded that it is a matter of opinion! What is the point of having scientific studies if they are then disregarded in the debate?

blue laws

Your legislative guest repeatedly said that remaining open would be voluntary.  All retail stores' hours are determined by management, all are open on a voluntary basis.  The problem is that small business owners, often family run, must stay open due to competitie pressures.  To say that this is voluntary is a cynical avoidance of the problem for such small businesses.  If blue laws are repealed, "mon and pop" enterprises will be forced to remain open late and open on Sundays if they want to retain their footing in a highly competitive market.

Sunday sales

No one is going to force "mom and pop" enteprises to remain open at all.If they can't compete in the retail sector mybe it's time for them to get a job like everyone else. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kithen.