Connecticut's archaic "Blue Laws" prohibiting liquor stores from opening on Sundays ended Thursday, with the that allows those retailers the opportunity to open seven days a week if they so choose.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill into law in the Town Council Chambers at Enfield Town Hall. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, state Sen. John Kissel, Rep. Kathy Tallarita and Rep. David Kiner were among the legislators present for the ceremony.
The bill allows liquor permittees to sell alcohol from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, as well as on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, and on Mondays following a Christmas or New Year's Day holiday that falls on a Sunday.
The governor said he chose to stage the signing ceremony in Enfield, a town bordering Massachusetts, because efforts by the community's elected officials and liquor store owners were extremely crucial to passage of the bill.
"I came back here to do the signing of the bill because this where we rolled out what I believe is the right bold package," Malloy said. "That package was designed to move down in the direction of making Connecticut competitive for this industry. I'm sure what will be said is that this is about Sundays, but it's more than that. It is literally about our ability to compete with states that have been taking money away from us on an ongoing basis. When the product is less expensive and more convenient to purchase in surrounding states, you lose $570 million worth of sales. That's what we know, and what we also know is when you're paying electricity bills and other bills to keep a product refrigerated, and you have to pull down a cover over it and can't sell it, it's effectively costing you money and raising the price on that product at the same time."
Tallarita, who worked tirelessly to get the bill enacted into law, thanked Malloy for "putting forth his historic and bold proposal in order to bring Connecticut back into the 21st century and make us more competitive with our surrounding states, and allow consumers to have the convenience of shopping when they have the time to shop and want to shop, and to allow businesses both big and small to run their businesses as they so choose."
Dominic Alaimo, who owns Freshwater Package Store just a few hundred yards from Town Hall and has long campaigned to end the Sunday sales ban, said he is thankful to Tallarita and other officials who made the new law a reality.
"It's been a long time coming, and Kathy Tallarita was the number one fighter in the state of Connecticut," Alaimo said in an interview prior to the governor's appearance. "She went against every other politician to back this. In my four-year battle with the state, I found that after Prohibition, in Connecticut the power shifted from the American gangster to most politicians."
Connecticut retailers may sell alcohol on Sundays beginning this week, on May 20. Indiana is now the lone state that prohibits Sunday alcohol sales.