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Senator steers clear of beer wholesaler legal battle

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The Indiana Legislature won't interfere with beer wholesaler Monarch Beverage Co.'s quest in federal court for the right to distribute liquor.

Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, chairman of the Public Policy Committee, said Wednesday morning that he won't include language sought by Monarch's opponents in any alcoholic beverage bill that he advances in the second half of the session.

“I respect all of our wholesalers,” Alting said.

The Indiana Beverage Alliance, which represents Budweiser distributors, hoped to derail federal court cases by Monarch, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and the Convenience Store Association with Senate Bill 415, which stated that if any portion of the Indiana code on alcohol is found to be invalid, the rest shall be interpreted to limit, rather than expand, commerce in that industry.

The lawsuits by Monarch and the convenience stores claim that Indiana's alcohol laws are unconstitutional.

Alting stripped the court-instruction language from the bill, which also deals with how beer makers can do business with Indiana wholesalers. Alting said he delayed a committee vote on SB 415 to give Anheueser-Busch InBev and the Budweiser distributors more time to work out their differences.

Among the Budweiser distributors' complaints is that Anheueser-Busch has flooded their docks with beer they didn't order, while forcing them to pay for it.

“In general, it's not our business,” Alting said. “However, what's a little bit different in this situation is Indiana created the beer wholesalers. They play a very, very important role in the three-tier system [of suppliers, wholesalers and retailers]."

Though SB 415 did not advance in the Senate, Alting said he may still insert language protecting the wholesalers in a House bill destined for his committee. The major beermakers are watching the Legislature's reaction to the industry quarrel, Alting said.

"We will protect our beer wholesalers in Indiana," he said.

Indianapolis-based Monarch and the Indiana Beverage Alliance split over Monarch's attempts to pass legislation that would give it the right to distribute liquor. The other beer wholesalers say they fear Monarch would end up creating a monopoly. Liquor distributors also oppose Monarch's effort.

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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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