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Bill that gives Oklahoma voters choice of Sunday liquor sales heads to governor’s desk

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would give voters a choice regarding liquor store sales on Sundays was approved by the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 211 by Sen. Stephanie Bice is meant to complement State Question 792, which voters approved in November to modernize the state’s alcohol laws.

If it becomes law, each county would be able to ask its voters to weigh in on opening liquor stores on Sundays.

“Again, this bill helps address a parity issue between grocery and convenience stores and retail liquor stores. Those counties who vote to allow Sunday sales would benefit from the additional tax revenue. It will also help Oklahoma counties bordering with states that already have Sunday sales better compete for those dollars,” Bice said. “But I felt it was very important to make sure voters in each of our state’s 77 counties had the opportunity to decide this issue.”

The Oklahoma Retail Liquor Association and a number of local stores are supporting the measure, calling it a way to increase consumer convenience.

Last month, the bill was approved by the Senate, which sent the bill to the House for consideration.

On Monday, the House of Representatives approved the measure.

“Beer brewers and distributors support letting voters continue to decide how to modernize Oklahoma’s outdated alcohol laws. We’re pleased this logical, responsible next step to build on State Question 792 is one step closer to reality because we know it will bring opportunity for businesses and choice for consumers,” a statement from Oklahoma Beer Alliance President Lisette Barnes read.

Now, SB 211 heads to the governor’s desk for final approval.

If the bill is signed by Gov. Fallin, it will be up to each county to put the issue on the ballot.

Either the county commissioners could call for a special election or 15 percent of registered voters in a county could sign a petition asking for a vote.

Sunday sales would go into effect with State Question 792 in fall 2018.