But the governor killed it anyway. However, as the last days of most of their term-limited careers are trickling away, our lawmakers finally accomplished something. They made it possible to buy liquor on Sunday morning and in the afternoon on Christmas Day.
And you’d have to be Ebenezer Scrooge to say Bah, Humbug to that. Actually, I wasn’t sure at first that this was a good idea.
That’s not because I think I have any right to decree when any grownup should drink. However, I like to think of myself as having a healthy spirit of self-preservation, both of my own dear carcass and that of society as a whole.
And I had this dreadful image of some poor loser whose sweetheart left him just before the holidays. So, on Christmas afternoon, he goes into a bar, drinks himself blind, leaves, and runs over little Susie walking to grandma’s house. Or, to make it personal, smashes into little old me, sent out to buy another pint of egg nog.
Something like that really happened to an editor I knew, who was killed by a drunk in broad daylight on New Year’s Eve.
However, upon mature reflection, I think that the bill is essentially a good idea. Serious alcohol abusers are generally going to find a way to get alcohol, whether or not the bars are open.
Naturally, it would be nice if we could find a way to make sure that bartenders are extra vigilant for problem drinkers, especially on holidays and Sunday mornings. But I suspect this law’s main beneficiary will be grocery stores, and occasional shoppers like me.
My alcohol consumption is limited to wine, and not very much of that. But once or twice I’ve needed to pick up some beer for the relatives, and forgot and put it in my grocery store shopping cart on a Sunday morning. The result was that the cashier triumphantly announced that this was against the law, signaling to everyone in line that I was clearly just a few days away from some alley on Skid Row.
My guess is that I am not the only person this has happened to. The idea that it is immoral to buy liquor at 11:59 a.m. and just fine to buy it a minute later is sort of nuts, and I’m glad that’s ending.
This will also help state revenues, at least a little bit. Establishments will have to pay the state a hundred and sixty dollars a year to sell alcohol on Sunday mornings, and thousands surely will.
However, having passed this bill, it would be nice if our lame duck lawmakers next adopted a sane policy for taxing alcohol. For example, the beer tax has been the same since 1966.
A rational modest increase on each bottle could do wonders to help fund education. Powerful lobbyists won‘t like that idea, of course. But if our lawmakers ever find the necessary courage, I happily drink to that. Maybe even on Sunday morning.