A measure that would give counties the option to decide whether to allow Sunday liquor store sales has won full Senate approval. Sen. Stephanie Bice began working two years ago to help Oklahomans modernize state liquor laws, with voters overwhelmingly supporting State Question 792 last November. Senate Bill 211 represents another step in that effort, and will address an important parity issue.
“With the passage of State Question 792, starting in October, 2018, grocery and convenience stores will be able to sell beer and wine, including on Sundays,” said Bice, R-Oklahoma City. “Senate Bill 211 will give counties the option to allow retail liquor stores to operate on Sundays.”
The county vote could come about one of two ways—either the county commissioners could call for a special election or 15 percent of registered voters in a county could sign a petition asking for a vote. Bice noted there are still 18 dry counties in Oklahoma, meaning they do not allow liquor by the drink. They could hold a vote on becoming wet counties as well as holding a vote to allow Sunday liquor store sales.
“Again, this bill helps address a parity issue between grocery and convenience stores and retail liquor stores. Those counties who vote to allow Sunday sales would benefit from the additional tax revenue. It will also help Oklahoma counties bordering with states that already have Sunday sales better compete for those dollars,” Bice said. “But I felt it was very important to make sure voters in each of our state’s 77 counties had the opportunity to decide this issue.”
Senate Bill 211 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.