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ALBANY _ The Assembly on Friday gave final legislative approval to the “brunch bill” to allow alcohol sales at bars and restaurants before noon on Sundays while ending one of the last vestiges of centuries-old “blue laws.”
The Senate approved the measure Thursday. The bill now goes to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill will allow restaurants and bars to open at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Establishments outside New York City can apply for up to 12 one-day permits each year to open at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
Supporters including Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester) said the blue laws that for decades prohibited most business on Sundays are outdated and based on only some religious beliefs.
“Sunday is not everyone’s Sabbath, so the days ought to be treated equally,” Morelle said on Friday.
Assemb. Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bronx) called blue laws “nothing more than discriminatory … from when the country was more monolithic. Sunday is just not special.”
But he added: “I don’t think we should be in the business of encouraging bad habits early in the morning.”
The bill met the same mixed reaction in the Assembly that was seen in the Senate. Several Democrats and Republicans objected to New York’s increasing promotion of alcohol sales as an economic development tool.
Assemb. Walter Mosley (D-Brooklyn) said there is an epidemic of bars in urban, residential blocks where early Sunday hours would disrupt the neighborhood.
“Sometimes we have to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Mosley said. “We have to take control of the situation … It’s bad public policy.”
Assemb. Martiza Davila (D-Brooklyn) said, “There is drinking all over the place.”
“We have to think about the children, the people who worship on Sundays. We have to think about them, too,” Davila said.