House advances bill expanding alcohol sales on Sundays, lawmakers cite Chiefs as big reason

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that increases access to beer and liquor in the state of Kansas.

The House advanced a bill that would allow alcohol sales to begin at 9 a.m. on Sundays instead of noon.

It also removes Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day from the statewide banned sales list, though it was allowed in some areas already.

For Sunday, even with expanded hours, liquor stores would still need to close by 8 pm. For the other six days of the week the hours can be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Supporters said a main reason for earlier sales in Kansas is because of the football team in Missouri.

“A lot of Chiefs fans want to get their alcohol before the game, well in Kansas they’re either going to drive over to Missouri or they’re going to have to get it the night before, and so we want to make sure that we can keep those dollars in Kansas,” said Great Bend Representative Tory Marie Arnberger.

Arnberger said the goal is to make sure Kansas laws are similar to Missouri’s on Sundays, which would benefit stores west of the state line.

“I want Kansas to be pro-business, and I believe that this is making us pro-business,” she said.

Lawmakers said people in the industry were pushing for the change.

“A lot of our liquor store people were fearing they were losing quite a bit of revenue on holidays and Sundays, especially when it came to tailgating at the Chiefs’ game,” said Kansas City Representative Louis Ruiz. “So look at it as kind of an economic value that we can add more revenue base into our county.”

But not all lawmakers support the bill. Some believe the state is going too far in reducing restrictions.

“We need to think a little bit about what we’re doing with alcohol law in Kansas, and I don’t know if there’s much left that we can do to make it more liberal than it already is, except maybe get rid of 2 a.m. closing time,” said Wichita Representative John Carmichael. “There was a reason in a civilized society that we don’t sell liquor on the Lord’s day,” he said.

The bill will receive a final vote in the House Wednesday. It would then head to the Senate.

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