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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

About those state liquor store holiday hours…

Puzzled by the recent announcement that state liquor stores in Idaho will close early on Christmas Eve and all be closed on Christmas Day, but they’ll all be open regular hours on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day? There’s a reason – it’s the law. Under Idaho Code Section 23-307, “Days When Liquor Sales Are Prohibited,” it’s illegal to sell liquor from any state liquor store or distributing station “On any Thanksgiving, Christmas or Memorial Day.”

No other holidays are listed, although the law notes that liquor sales on Sundays are allowed only by county option, and the state Liquor Division can designate other periods or days when stores will be closed.

Idaho law used to ban all liquor sales on Election Day, a ban that applied to all national, state and even city elections in the city where the store was located. But the 2008 Legislature repealed that 1939 law, which stemmed from worries back when about voters being plied with liquor to skew their political judgment. Backers of the successful 2008 bill dubbed that law “archaic.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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