Democratic Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke hopes to spark a campaign that could eventually overturn the state law prohibiting businesses from selling alcohol before noon on Sundays.
The Buffalo Bills’ October game in London against the Jacksonville Jaguars spotlighted the state’s blue law that made it impossible for restaurants to cater to Bills fans who might want a late-morning drink.
In response, Burke submitted his “mimosa resolution” to the Legislature this week, asking that it go on record opposing the Sunday blue law restriction. His resolution was forwarded Thursday to the Legislature’s Finance and Management Committee – the same committee that is considering the resolution by Republican Legislator Ted Morton to roll back bar closing times from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Unlike Morton’s resolution, which would require only a Legislature vote to change bar closing times, Burke’s resolution would require sponsorship and support from state lawmakers. Burke, however, said that if enough public opinion builds in support of the resolution, and other local governments submit similar ones, the state is more likely to take the proposal seriously.
“I am of the belief that public opinion leads the way on everything,” he said.
He named his proposal after mimosas, the popular orange juice-and-champagne cocktail served during brunch and recalled an incident in which his wife wasn’t able to order the drink during a brunch with friends.
He also said he has received some positive feedback from both Democrats and Republicans, as well as people who have heard about his proposal on social media.
“I’m a Democrat but this is kind of a conservative argument,” Burke said. “This is unnecessary regulation. We need to stop treating adults like children.”
He said he doesn’t think it’s a great idea for people to be drinking on Sunday mornings, but it’s not the government’s place to decide they can’t.