Sunday alcohol sales “on life support,” says committee chairman

Word around the Capitol in recent days has it that the bill that would allow Sunday alcohol sales in retail locations is just a Kansas-tornado house away from ending up like the Wicked Witch of the East, only without any ruby-red slippers poking out. Rep. Joseph Taborsak, D-Danbury, co-chairman of the General Law Committee, just told the Blogster that with the March 15 “JF” deadline – for joint-favorable action – set for next Tuesday, he’s still not sure whether he and Sen. Paul Doyle, D-Wethersfield, will bring the bill up for a vote. If their meeting comes and goes without a vote, Sunday sales is dead for another year. That would force Rep. Kathy Tallarita, D-Enfield, to solicit support among House members, find a vehicle to attach it to as an amendment, win a vote in the House and get a favorable vote in the Senate. That’s a hard row to hoe, but Tallarita’s driven on this issue.

“I have gotten the impression that it’s dead,” said Sen. Anthony Musto, D-Trumbull, another member of the committee. “But until the end of the night on June 8th, nothing is really dead.”

 On Thursday the Quinnipiac University Poll reported that voters support allowing liquor stores to be open on Sunday, by 66-31 percent. Sunday sales, however, is more of a border-town issue, where retailers lose business to New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. If the proposal died in committee, it’ll be another solid victory for Carroll Hughes, lobbyist for the Connecticut Package Store Association, who have claimed that Sunday sales will mean that supermarkets will get the big profits and the little guys will be squashed like, the Wicked Witch of the West.

 “The bill has for some time been on life support,” Taborsak said in a phone interview. “It’s not dead. I subscribe to the philosophy that you don’t call bills that don’t have the votes to pass and so that’s really why the bill has not gotten called. The vote’s close enough so we can’t say it’s dead. It has a chance. It’s such a moving target.”

Translation: The Blogster predicts that the legislation won’t be wearing the ruby slippers and Connecticut imbibers will have to plan ahead and buy an extra bottle of wine on Saturday, for that unexpected Sunday company.