TULSA -- Governor Mary Fallin signed a bill into law Thursday that will allow counties to decide if liquor stores can open on Sundays.
The county commissioner will decide if the law should be put on a ballot for the public. If the commissioner decides against it, 15-percent of the registered voters who participated in the last general election can sign a petition to overturn the ruling.
Tulsa’s District 2 County Commissioner Karen Keith said allowing alcohol sales on Sunday “just makes sense.”
“I think it's time we come in to this century,” Keith said. “People come in from out of town and scratch their heads at some of our liquor laws. You can go to a restaurant and have some wine, but you can't go to the store and buy yourself some.”
Keith called the current laws antiquated and said it is time for change. She also believes opening liquor stores an extra day will increase sales tax revenue.
She said she wants to put it on the ballot, but she cannot speak for the other two county commissioners. The matter will be put on an upcoming meeting agenda for the three commissioners to discuss.
Several customers at Primo’s Wine and Spirits said they are looking forward to the passage of the law.
“I would like to see Oklahoma get up with the rest of the world,” Stanley Shapiro said while shopping.
Meanwhile, Primo’s owner Cliff Nutt said he does not want to open his store on Sunday.
“I have no desire to be open on Sunday and my employees have no desire to work on Sunday,” Nutt said. “We all want to be with our families.”
Shapiro is looking forward to not having to predict how much alcohol he will need for the weekend. He said the current laws are outdated.
Nutt, on the other hand, said opening an additional day will split the revenue he usually makes on Saturday between two days. Meanwhile he will be forced to pay operations costs for an additional day of business.
“There's no new revenue, because what they didn't buy Saturday, they are buying Sunday,” Nutt said. “It all washes out in the end.”
Even if the law passes with voters, Nutt is not sure if the will open Primo’s Wine and Spirits an extra day.
“I'm just like ‘How am I going to do this’ or ‘Do I want to do it?’ “ Nutt said. “Do I want to follow the lead of Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-a?”
Nutt said liquor store owners are already working 60 to 80 hours every week and another day of business would add to it.
Shapiro said even if Nutt decided not to open on Sundays, he would continue shopping there on days it was open and go to another store on Sundays.
“I would just go where it is convenient,” Shapiro said.
Keith said if the commissioners decide to put the new liquor law up for public vote, they would pair it with another upcoming election for cost purposes.
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