ST. PAUL -- Are the days of 3.2 beer in Minnesota numbered? Several organizations including The Minnesota Service Station & Convenience Store Association, Minnesota Grocers Association, and Minnesota Retailers Association are hosting a news conference Tuesday to push for ending the requirement that it be sold here.

Minnesota is the last remaining state that has 3.2 beer and convenience stores and retailers and others are saying we have to change this we can't continue to require 3.2 beer.  This is seen as a gateway to allow full-strength beer in grocery stores and c stores.

Political Insider Blois Olson says liquor issues are always complicated at the state capitol, but he says this is an issue that he could see passing this session.

And, he says it is an issue that could pull through other liquor law changes like the repeal of the growler law and allowing bars and restaurants to offer drinks to go.

With the new state budget forecast projecting a nearly $1.3 billion surplus could there be another state relief package coming for small businesses? Olson says the capacity of the state to do a lot is not that high, but relief could come in the form of reducing business expenses.

You have to look at the other ways small businesses are impacted by the pandemic and could find relief in the next bill.  One of those issues would be fees, licensing and issues related to bars and restaurants.  Water costs are very high for bars and restaurants.  Is there a way to reduce expenses in those ways from a government standpoint.

Monday morning Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka is holding a news conference to talk about the need to pass PPP conformity. Right now Minnesota is one of the few states where businesses that received a federal PPP loan could be taxed on that money.

Meanwhile, Olson says the federal government is likely to pass a grants program for the hospitality industry, instead of the previous loan program.

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