It appears on the agenda of the city commission for next week, an agenda that is fairly light overall.
A discussion of Sunday cereal malt beverage sales.
It is about time, and not surprising to see it on the agenda.
There has been a battle over booze fought in this state for years, with "blue laws" beginning to die a death of a thousand paper cuts as the battle plays out in conference rooms and legislative votes.
Big box retailers began "Uncork Kansas" as a move to try and get alcohol sales going in their places of business. To be clear, the end game for those retailers is to make it possible for consumers to buy almost anything, from Natural Light (an inexpensive beer) to Crown Royal (a top-shelf liquor), in big box retailers.
That will, if achieved, be a bad thing for local liquor stores who will struggle to compete on price. Big box retailers and chain stores can get better purchasing agreements due to volume buying.
That, however, has been the fight at the state level. That battle led to this spring, when "strong beer" became sellable by everyone — not just liquor stores. Gone is "3.2 beer" or "grocery store beer." Liquor stores are now able to start selling some nonliquor items in their stores — like ice. That guy going fishing at the lake can now make one stop, instead of two, to fill his beer cooler.
Locally, that led to a change in the laws surrounding cereal malt beverages. And now, it could lead to another.
Newton has not been willing to allow Sunday sales. Liquor stores are shuttered and beer sections in groceries stores covered up on Sundays. Meanwhile, those wanting to grab a case on Sunday will drive to Walton, Valley Center and other towns to do the shopping. All the taxes paid on those purchases have gone elsewhere.
It's time to talk about Sunday. We believe it is time to open up the coolers on Sunday, and to look for ways to be flexible with liquor store owners on when they are open on that day. It will be interesting to see what the commission will choose to do.