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Senate OKs later bar close for GOP convention, Pawlenty favors

Associated Press

ST. PAUL — Beer taps, wine corkscrews and martini shakers should get an extra workout during the Republican National Convention thanks to state legislation that pushes bar closing time out by two hours.

The Minnesota Legislature was voting Thursday on a compromise bill that would let local governments in the seven-county Twin Cities area allow liquor dispensing until 4 a.m. during the convention’s run.

The current cutoff time for bars is 2 a.m.

From August 31 to September 5, bars could stay open the extra time if their cities give the OK. The local governments would be allowed to charge special permit fees of up to $2,500.

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The Senate approved the bill on a 42-20 vote and sent it to the House, which was expected to forward it to Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Pawlenty, a prominent supporter of presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, said he won’t get in the way.

"No good happens after bar closing time," he said. "But for one week, for this purpose, I think it’s fine."

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