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S.D. panel OKs bill to allow alcohol sales every day

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- People would be able to buy alcohol in South Dakota any day of the year under a bill advanced to the full House Wednesday by its commerce committee.

The legislation would allow beer, wine and liquor sales -- either off-sale or on-sale -- from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. on any day.

On-sale liquor sales -- in which the liquor is consumed at the establishment that makes the sale -- currently are prohibited between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m., while holders of an off-sale license can't sell alcohol between midnight and 7 a.m.

Rep. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, said the varying time windows are confusing for law enforcement and it makes sense to have everything standardized.

"It makes it very easy to understand the law," Greenfield told the committee.

The bill would lift the ban on wine and liquor sales on Sundays, Memorial Day and Christmas, but local municipalities could opt out of that provision. Memorial Day and Christmas restrictions on beer sales at some establishments also would be lifted.

Rep. Carol Pitts, R-Brookings, voted against the measure, saying the Legislature should let communities decide on which days and during what hours alcohol may be sold, not impose a change and force them to opt out.

"I believe that puts an undue burden on the communities and the cost that that would entail on the local level," she said.