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House passes bill to allow liquor sales on Sunday

Mississippians could soon purchase liquor and wine seven days a week under a plan that passed the Republican-majority House and is now headed to the Senate for consideration.

The House on March 1 voted 69-31 to pass House Bill 329, which would allow package stores to operate on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. State law currently prohibits liquor sales on Sundays.

“They can go get it after church but not before or during church?” Democratic Rep. Ronnie Crudup Jr. of Jackson asked during debate on Friday. 

“That’s correct,” Republican Rep. Brent Powell of Brandon responded. 

Current law only allows package stores to operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday through Saturday. The House proposal would automatically grant package stores in wet areas the option to sell on Sunday afternoon.

But the House bill allows counties and municipalities to conduct a referendum to opt out of the Sunday sales if 20% of the voters or 1,500 voters, whichever is less, sign onto a petition to conduct an election. 

Democratic Rep. Jeffery Hulum III of Gulfport on Friday said he supported the legislation because it could possibly prevent Mississippians from traveling to other states over the weekend to purchase alcohol and allow state officials to collect more tax revenue. 

The House sent the bill to the Senate for consideration, but Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann’s office has not yet referred the bill to a committee. The Senate committee has until April 2 to advance the bill. 

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