Senate defeats amendment allowing full-day Sunday sales

January 19, 2018

The Indiana Senate has defeated an amendment that would have allowed for Sunday sales nearly all day in Indiana.

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, presented an amendment to Senate Bill 1 that would have allowed for Sunday carryout alcohol sales from 7 a.m. Sunday to 3 a.m. Monday morning. The current draft of the bill would allow grocery, convenience, drug and liquor stores and restaurants to sell alcohol on Sundays from noon to 8 p.m.

When Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, first presented the measure to the Senate Public Policy Committee last week, he touted SB 1 as a “clean bill” that wasn’t tagged with any unrelated or controversial matters. But Tallian scoffed at that sentiment when she presented her amendment to the full Senate on Thursday, saying the bill had a “giant hangnail” in that it only permitted alcohol sales on Sunday afternoons.

The Democratic senator then went on to say she was unsure why the noon to 8 p.m. timeframe had been chosen.

“What I do know is this – I know that I’m going to go home to my town hall meetings, and I’m going to say to my constituents, ‘We finally passed Sunday sales in Indiana,’” Tallian said. “And they’re all going to say, ‘Great!’”

“And then I’m going to say, ‘Yeah, but it’s only from noon ‘til 8 p.m.,’” Tallian continued. “And, they’re going to say, ‘Well why did you do that?’ and I’m going to have to say, ‘I really don’t have a clue.’ And I really hate to ever have to give that response.”

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, when he presented the House’s version of Sunday sales legislation, House Bill 1051, when he brought it before the House Public Policy Committee.

Both Smaltz and Alting gave similar responses to their respective bodies – that all stakeholders agreed the eight-hour window would be the best way to ease the state into Sunday alcohol sales. Further, Alting told the Senate the Alcohol Code Revision Commission – which was tasked with reviewing Indiana’s alcohol laws as they relate to retailers – also gave its stamp of approval to the noon to 8 p.m. window. Alting and Sen. Lonnie Randolph, D-East Chicago, served on the commission.

“To answer the question – a lot of discussion and a lot of listening. … We dissected Sunday sales and exactly what it meant, and it is about as clean a bill as you can get,” he said.

Alting also noted that alcohol is already a regulated substance, so regulating the time of day when it can be sold is not a novel idea.

Tallian’s amendment was defeated by a voice vote, sending the original version of SB 1 back to the full Senate for approval on third reading.  Meanwhile, the House Public Policy Committee passed HB 1051 on first reading on Wednesday, sending the legislation to the full House floor.


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