Tuesday, March 28, 2017

On This Date in Minnesota History: March 28

March 28, 1919 – The dry enforcement bill passed by the House of Representatives was amended by the Senate committee today to permit the sale of beer containing not more than 2 percent of alcohol by weight.

The amendment, which was adopted by a vote of five to three, differs from the “near beer” amendment considered and turned down by the House in that it would prohibit the product being consumed on the premises where it is sold.

Temperance Beer1

Senator John D. Sullivan of St. Cloud sponsored the amendment in the Senate committee. Representative W. L. Norton, author of the bill, and George B. Safford, superintendent of the Anti-Saloon League, opposed its adoption.

Passage of the amendment was urged by Senator Sullivan as the only fair method of modifying the dry enactment law to satisfy the majority of the people of this state. Objection to its adoption was made by Representative Norton and Safford on the grounds that it would permit the sale of a beverage that, if not intoxicating, would at least contain sufficient alcohol to be habit-forming and would defeat the purpose of the federal prohibition amendment.

The bill as approved by the committee was also amended with consent of the author so as to exempt from its provisions extracts and liniments not commonly taken as a beverage. Still another amendment, to correct technical wording of the law, was suggested by Senator Sullivan and consented to by Representative Norton. The exact language of this amendment, it was agreed, should be determined by the two and presented to the committee at a later session.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribune; “Two Per Cent Beer Is O.K.’d by Committee. State Senate Body Approves Change in House Bill.”; March 29, 1919; p. 1.


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