One Sunday alcohol sales bill takes a step forward

Indiana Looks to Finally End Prohibition Era Restriction on Sunday Alcohol Sales

Two committees discussed separate bills allowing Sunday sales from noon to 8 p.m.in groceries, package liquor stores and for other permit-holders that now sell alcohol. Key lawmakers met Wednesday to talk Sunday sales in both the House and Senate.

Committee Chair Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn), the bill's author, says those hours were part of a special study commission's recommendation a year ago.

Both bills took big steps Wednesday. A House committee will vote next week on its own version of the bill. However, Senate Public Police Committee chair, Senator Ron Alting, has promised the bill will receive a hearing and vote during this legislative session.

"We will continue to fight the opioid epidemic, look for ways to improve our workforce development efforts and support our schools", Senate Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said in a Monday release presenting his party's agenda.

"I'm hoping we don't get bombarded down in second readings, and that's why I mentioned that".

Grocery chain Kroger was represented during testimony in the House Public Policy Committee.

Act on the recommendation of the Alcohol Code Revision Commission to allow the carryout sale of alcohol on Sundays in Indiana. "The additional few hours are important to our customers".

The House Public Policy Committee will hear House Bill 1051 Wednesday, which concerns Sunday carryout alcohol sales from noon until 8 p.m.at licensed package liquor, grocery, convenience and drug stores and restaurants.

But Indiana's Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking wants strict amendments to both bills; for example, in-store advertising separation. The organization wants the bill to include a requirement that alcohol and alcohol promotions be kept in their own section of the store.

"We're just concerned that sometimes there are advertisements for the Super Bowl for beer right next to you know, kids books and things like that", said Lisa Hutchenson, Vice President of Indiana's Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.

Smaltz said, "Anything can happen in this process when it comes out the committee". Longtime opponents of changing the laws, the Indiana Retail Council and the Indiana Beverage Retailers Association, announced in November they would each support Sunday sales, but would not favor expanded cold beer sales. Sunday sales, he believes, stand "a pretty decent chance" of gaining legislative approval. "We are eager to continue working directly with legislators and policy makers as these landmark pieces of legislation continue to move forward without delay".

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