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Minneapolis makes case for later bar close for Super Bowl LII
Added By: Molly Wahlberg

Super Bowl revelers will have more time to drink when the big game is played next year in Minneapolis if lawmakers approve a bill discussed in a Senate committee Tuesday. Legislation sponsored by Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point, would allow bars and restaurants to serve patrons until 4 a.m. between Feb. 2 and 5, 2018. Establishment owners would have to receive a special permit from Ramsey or Hennepin counties to stay open those longer hours.

Minneapolis will host Super Bowl LII in the Vikings’ new U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. Minnesota lawmakers approved similar changes in 2008 when the Republican National Convention was in St. Paul and in 2014 when the Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in Minneapolis. Typically, bars cannot serve alcohol past 2 a.m. Two Minneapolis city officials on Tuesday told members of the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee that extending bar hours in the past has not been a problem.

“We monitored it in 2014 and we found very few problems and we found many people enjoyed it,” said Grant Wilson, manager of licenses and services for Minneapolis. The bill detailed Tuesday would allow a $250 fee to be charged to establishments requesting a permit for longer hours. That money would be used to process paperwork, train workers and beef up police protection. Under the proposed legislation, only businesses with existing liquor licenses could apply for the special permit for extended hours. Ramsey and Hennepin counties could put geographic, zoning and license-classification limits on where the extended hours permits could be issued.

Lawmakers did not take action on the proposal Tuesday; it was “laid over” for possible inclusion in a wide-ranging liquor bill. The legislation has bipartisan support in the Senate and the House, where it is awaiting a hearing in the Commerce and Regulatory Reform Committee.

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