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'Four Firkins Bill' Ready for Round Two

The legislation would allow Minnesota liquor stores to sell store-branded merchandise, like T-shirts.

After it , the “Four Firkins bill” will once again be on the table at the legislature.

With the backing of St. Louis Park legislator Steve Simon, the bill would allow Minnesota liquor stores to sell store-branded merchandise. Last year, the legislation breezed through the House and became part of an omnibus liquor package, but the Senate kept the bill out of its omnibus package. A conference committee ultimately killed the legislation.

This year, Rep. Simon (DFL-District 44A), who authored the House version of the bill, sees another obstacle. He’s hearing talk from Republican House and Senate leaders of wanting to end the session early in this election—and redistricting—year, which could squeeze out any omnibus liquor bill. Simon intends to nudge Rep. Joe Hoppe, chair of the House Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee, to "let (the Four Firkins bill) go on its own.”

“I see this bill as not threatening anyone,” Simon added.

The legislation was first presented after Simon and Sen. Ron Latz, the author of the Senate version, spoke with Jason Alvey, who owns St. Louis Park craft beer store the . Alvey  he couldn’t legally sell store-branded T-shirts.

“We have lots of regular customers who would be proud to wear a Four Firkins T-shirt,” Alvey said in an interview last year. “We want to be able to sell to them.”

Winkler Pushes Legislative Reform

Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-District 44B) isn’t wasting any time this session—he has already introduced a bill he believes will help the legislature run more efficiently.

“We need to get our house in order before we start making suggestions of others,” Winkler said. “In the recent past, we have dealt with shutdowns, scandals and closed door negations, and it’s just not a good way to conduct business.”

Winkler, who represents St. Louis Park and Golden Valley, says his proposal includes a more open form of government and addresses some concerns raised by the public.

“It’s important to deal with these issues right out of the gate,” he said.

His bill would ban major political party officers from holding public jobs at the legislature, and bar legislative sessions between midnight and 7 a.m. or whenever the Capitol and State Office Building are closed to the public. It would also turn over resetting district boundaries to an independent source, require all lawmakers to declare income made as consultants and prevent government shutdowns even if lawmakers can't agree upon a budget. 

Here’s what happened this past week with other bills authored or co-authored by your legislators:

Rep. Ryan Winkler

  • Authored a bill that would provide $263,000 in funding to the Perpich Center for the Arts. HF2011 was introduced on Jan. 30 and referred to the Education Fincance Committee.

Sen. Ron Latz

Emily B February 03, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Well, I think the reader poll speaks volumes here - let them sell shirts! Good luck Alvey!
meghan February 04, 2012 at 06:03 PM
At this point he's been giving them away for free from time to time, footing the bill himself. I'd be happy to pay for a Four Firkins shirt! Go Alvey!

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