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ALBANY - The Buffalo Bills' effort to start selling beer an hour earlier for Sunday home games has come up short.
"It's dead," acknowledged Assemblyman Sean Ryan, who recently popped in a bill, at the team's request, to permit alcohol sales inside the stadium to start at 11 a.m., thereby carving out special treatment from the state's noontime start for alcohol sales by bars and restaurants.
At a time when a $130 million renovation of Ralph Wilson Stadium is under way, including new concession areas, the team and Ryan, D-Buffalo, had said the measure was intended to get more people into the stadium earlier.
But the measure never gained traction in the Senate. Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican who had once backed the Bills' idea, said getting a Wilson stadium-only measure would never work. Instead, there has been legislation to push back the Sunday alcohol sales to 11 a.m. on a statewide basis. But that, too, has stalled at the Capitol.
"As I talk to people here, I don't envision support for either bill," said Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, who said he was "standing on the sidelines" with the effort because Grisanti has the statewide bill.
Gallivan said he talked with the Cuomo administration to notify it that the Bills' request was not winning support in the Senate. "They did not indicate it was something that they'd take the lead on and push," Gallivan said.
The Bills rarely are defeated in efforts at the Capitol, having landed millions of dollars in state aid for stadium renovations in return for remaining in Buffalo.