Supporters of Sunday alcohol sales launch new campaign to change state law

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INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 2, 2014) - Supporters of Sunday alcohol sales have launched a new campaign ahead of the 2015 legislative session.

For several years, they’ve fought for Sunday sales at grocery and convenience stores, but now they’re making their biggest push yet--with a new campaign and a new website--they think this year they might finally have what it takes to convince state lawmakers to make a change.

“Sunday is the second busiest shopping day of the week (and) consumers want the ability to do all of their shopping at one time at one location,” said Grant Monahan with the Indiana Retail Council, which is joining other organizations and major retailers like Kroger and Marsh in supporting the new coalition, called Hoosiers For Sunday Sales.

“This is a prohibition era law that makes no sense,” said Cam Carter with the Indiana Chamber, the state’s leading business advocacy organization, which has joined the fight to legalize Sunday sales.

Last month, the Chamber’s president said he would support a closer look at the Sunday sales issue, with advocates hoping to get the issue out of committee and onto the full House for a vote for the very first time.

But the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers has a different view--the group represents liquor store owners who don’t want the law to change.

"Out-of-state interests, big-box retailers, and now a new campaign--one of several launched in recent years--is pushing yet another initiative in the guise of 'locals' to change Indiana law," said CEO Patrick Tamm. "Sound public policy should not be driven by expensive astroturfing, which is the practice of misleading the public by those with a vested interested through glitzy campaigns disguised as grassroots efforts.  Let’s take a look at the man behind the curtain and let’s see who’s really pulling the strings."

House public policy chair Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, was not available for an interview Tuesday, but through a spokesperson, Dermody said he would continue to look at the issue and "make a decision that he believes in the best interest of Hoosiers."

Lawmakers will be officially back in session January 6.