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HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut retailers are blue no more. The Constitution State has become the 49th state to allow off-premise alcohol sales on Sundays.
A measure abolishing the state's blue law landed on Gov. Dannel Malloy's desk after the state Senate passed the legislation on Tuesday. The House had previously approved the bill. Now, the resulting sales are expected to add approximately $5.2 million a year in revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Our current laws have cost Connecticut businesses millions of dollars as consumers have flocked over our borders in search of more convenient hours and lower prices," Malloy said in a statement after the Senate vote. "Like many other initiatives I've put forward since taking office, this bill has a simple focus: making Connecticut competitive once again."
He added, however, that the state could do more to lower the cost to consumers. Malloy originally wanted a more comprehensive bill that would have overhauled the state's alcohol industry. Allowing bars to remain open until 2 a.m. on all nights of the week and legalizing the sale of beer at gas stations were among the provisions lawmakers eliminated, the news outlet reported.
In a measure of compromise, the legislators will create a 15-member, bipartisan task force to study the deregulation of pricing in the industry. The task force will look at the prices, taxes, volume discounts and minimum pricing in all surrounding states. Its report will be due by New Year's Day to be ready for the 2013 legislative session.
"I look forward to the study proposed by the legislature. It's a good first step and one that I hope lays the foundation for future action. This much is clear -- the more we can lower prices for consumers, the more competitive our businesses will be," the governor said.
Retail sales will be allowed between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Stores will also have the option of selling liquor on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Alcohol sales will still be banned on Christmas and New Year's Day, the WSJ report noted.