Tulsa County is lining up to be the first place in Oklahoma with legal Sunday liquor store sales.
County-option Sunday sales was part of a bill passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2017, but an unintended quirk in the bill’s language prevented counties from getting the idea in front of voters until now.
If Tulsa County voters approve Sunday sales in the same election as the March 3 presidential primary, liquor stores could be open seven days a week by this spring.
The best arguments for Sunday sales are convenience, commercial equity and the religious liberty.
It will come as a surprise to no one that some pro football fans like to drink beer during games. They ought to have the option of buying that beer on game day at their local liquor store, where selection and price are often better.
You might point out that they could buy their beer down the street at the convenience store or in their grocery. True. State voters overwhelmingly approved cold wine and strong beer sales at grocery and convenience stores in 2016’s State Question 792.
Ever since SQ 792 went into effect, liquor stores have been competing on a skewed playing field. They can only be open six days a week. But their competitors are selling a lot of the same stuff every day of the week along with chips, salsa and soft drinks. And you don’t have to leave your child at the front door. Bryan Kerr, president of the Retail Liquor Association of Oklahoma, says the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. found that Sunday sales in other states increased liquor store business 4% to 7%.
Sunday blue law mandates are a relic of the 19th century. They use state law to enforce the religious virtues of a portion of the population on the entire population. Does that sound like the spirit of the First Amendment?
We wish it could have happened faster, but Tulsa County commissioners acted as quickly as possible in getting Sunday liquor store sales in front of Tulsa County voters. We suspect a lot of other counties will be ready to do the same thing soon.