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Malloy Proposes Overhaul of State's Blue Laws

The governor calls for a change to the state's 'out of date' Sunday restrictions.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced a package of policies seeking to make Connecticut competitive with surrounding states when it comes to the sale of alcohol.

The announcement, made Saturday afternoon at Enfield Town Hall, represents a change in direction for the entire state, Malloy said.

"Today I take a step forward in making Connecticut competitive with surrounding states and, at the same time, moving in the direction of being pro-consumer," he the governor said.

At the heart of Malloy's package, which must be passed by the state legislature, is the sale of alcohol on Sundays, certain holidays and on Mondays that come after Sunday holidays.

Allowing Sunday and holiday sales is meant to increase sales at stores in towns that border Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York — sales that represent an estimated $570 million in lost revenue, Malloy said.

"I think the governor has done a fantastic job with this," said Dominic Alaimo, owner of Freshwater Package Store on Route 5 in Enfield.

"Finally we have a governor that didn't listen to the lobbyists and listened to the consumers. ... It's a tremendous amount of money that's been going over the border and God knows Connecticut can use it."

The package includes a number of measures in addition to legalizing Sunday and holiday sales, which border-town shops have rquested for decades, but many shops located in central Connecticut have resisted.

"To the owners of shops [that haven't felt the competition], I say that 'We're working with you,'" said Malloy.

"We're going to allow you to sell other items, and we're going to create a marketplace."

Connecticut is currently one of two states in the nation that does not allow the sale of alcohol outside of restaurants and bars.

Specifics of what Malloy's office called "modernizing Connecticut's Liquor Laws" include:

  • The creation of a statewide "medallion" system (in addition to standard package store licenses), which will be given to all current package store owners to reflect their right to expanded business options.
  • Package and grocery stores will be allowed to sell alcohol until 10 p.m. if they choose to do so.
  • Restaurants and bars can stay open and serve alcohol until 2 a.m. (subject to local ordinances).
  • Some small convenience stores will be given the option of selling beer.
  • Package stores will be allowed to sell goods in addition to alcohol, including snack food, cheese, crackers, chips and other items thought to be "complementary" to alcohol consumption.
  • Price posting, minimum bottle and quantity discount laws will be eliminated.
  • Grocery stores will be allowed to operate separate package stores.
  • One person or LLC will be able to operate more than two package stores through the purchase of a medallion.
ruth January 16, 2012 at 07:53 PM
The passage of these measures will affect many small businesses, who will now have to cover the cost of labor, fuel and other expenses to stay open another day and additional hours. Will this really result in additional revenue for either the state or the business owner? I doubt it. Connecticut should hold on to the integrity of the current laws.
Kym Apicelli January 16, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Will it really increase revenue? Or will it diminish the numbers on Saturday and all even out?? I go to the package store on Saturday because I can’t go Sunday. If the store was open Sunday I wouldn’t go both days… I would still only go one of them. Same amount of money spent… but that business owner had to spend another day away from their family and spend extra money on utilities. I would love to see all businesses closed on Sundays. It should be a family day!
David Irons January 17, 2012 at 01:56 PM
In reply to Ruth and Kym, in the short run, yes, this will result in more revenue to the state. But the benefit to package stores overall is questionable, at best. Other reports have stated that while this will increase revenue for the state by 2.8 percent, based on an increase in sales of the same, it would increase operating hours, therefore costs, to the package store owner by 16 percent. A 16 percent increase in costs to gain a 2.8 percent increase in sales simply does not add up to good business planning. Then there are those who will argue that. "Why should package owners get special laws giving them a day off and guaranteed profit margins? Profit aside, to the day off and hours of operation, I will argue, if you are going to allow Sunday sales, why not just eliminate all restrictions? Just allow any package store, any bar or tavern to remain open 24/7 if they wish.
jim.meriden March 13, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Little does anyone know that wine can already be purchased on Sunday in Connecticut. Go to any one of the wineries in Connecticut and you can buy as much wine as you can carry out the door. How do they get around it? Well, it's called "produce" , you know, like strawberries or tomatoes.

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