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Lawmakers don't vote on Sunday alcohol sales

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota House members did not get a chance to vote on whether they want alcohol to be sold on Sundays.

An amendment to a bill was dropped Tuesday before a vote.

However, there was a debate on the issue, with Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, saying Minnesotans are crossing over to other states to buy alcohol on Sundays.

"We are exporting our business to those states," Drazkowski said. "We do have to find a way for our businesses to engage on commerce on Sunday."

Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said that he makes many Sunday trips to pick up beer in Hudson, Wis., and he felt he should be able to buy beer in Minnesota.

To that, Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, responded: "If you cannot plan ahead ... you probably shouldn't be drinking."

The Sunday sales measure failed in a Senate committee and is unlikely to be debated again this year.

Invasion fought

Aquatic species not native to Minnesota would be fought under a bill senators passed Tuesday 64-0.

The bill awaits a final House vote.

"Aquatic invasive species are a threat to our natural resources across the state, and we must have a sense of urgency in dealing with this issue," Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said.

The bill increases inspection and enforcement authority and broadens the requirement for boaters to make sure their equipment is clear of invasive species. Also, penalties for violation of invasive species laws were increased.

Redistricting progresses

A House committee Tuesday approved a plan creating three mostly rural congressional districts that span Minnesota east to west, and a Senate committee is expected to pass the same proposal today.

The House plan passed 7-5 with all Democrats on the committee opposing it. That does not bode well for it eventually becoming law.

"Any plan has to have broad bipartisan support," Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton said.

Like they did with a state Legislature redistricting plan, Democrats complained that the public had just a day to review the proposal.

Republicans who control the Legislature designed the maps.

A Senate committee considered the House legislative map Tuesday and likely will vote on it today. The committee will look at the House's congressional map later this week.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Bemidji Pioneer.