Lawmaker re-introduces Sunday alcohol sales proposal

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INDIANAPOLIS (December 29, 2015) - Should Indiana retailers be allowed to sell alcohol seven days a week?

That question could soon be back in front of the state legislature, after a state senator again introduced a bill to try to make it happen.

“It's little by little getting some support,” said State Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, who authored Senate Bill 16.

Last session, a similar proposal made it out of committee, but didn't have enough votes to pass the House, after requirements were added that grocery stores opposed because it would have forced them to sell liquor behind the counter.

The latest proposal would create a new permit process for supplemental permits that stores would have to purchase to sell alcohol on Sunday, with some of that money going back to the state.

But officials with the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers said, if anything, they would prefer more of a comprehensive proposal like last year’s bill.

“A lot of legislators liked the bill we had last year… it was a comprehensive Sunday sales bill that also looked at how and where alcohol is sold and the manner it's sold,” said IABR’s Patrick Tamm. “If there's a good public policy position with regards to a comprehensive look at alcohol we'll obviously take a look at it.”

“I'm frustrated by the fact that we don't seem to be interested in helping the consumer,” said Sen. Boots, who admits his legislation probably won't get a hearing in the Senate.

So could there be a similar proposal in the House?

No word from the public policy chairman who authored last year's bill, Rep. Tom Dermody, who recently announced he won't be running for re-election.

And in the meantime, lobbyists like Tamm insist that the sale of alcohol needs to be strictly regulated.

“There's a reason why he had Prohibition.. alcohol was rampant,” said Tamm. “(And) there's a reason why when we came out of Prohibition states adopted a myriad sets of law that are uniquely specific to each state.”

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