An amended version of Sunday alcohol sales legislation in Indiana would allow Hoosiers to purchase alcohol for carryout on Sundays as soon as the bill is signed, rather than waiting until the traditional legislative effective date of July.
The House Public Policy Committee passed the amended version of Senate Bill 1 with a 9-1 vote on Wednesday, with chairman Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, telling committee members there did not seem to be a reason to delay the implementation of Sunday sales.
“If we’re going to allow the people of Indiana to buy carryout on Sunday, then why are we waiting?” Smaltz said. “What infrastructure needs to go in place?”
The bill, authored in the Senate by Lafayette Republican Ron Alting, would allow grocery, convenience, drug and liquor stores to sell alcohol for carrying out from noon to 8 p.m. on Sundays, ending a Prohibition-era ban on Sunday sales in the Hoosier state. The full Senate passed the historic legislation last month, while identical legislation in House Bill 1051 passed the House.
Grant Monahan and Travis Scheidt – representing the Indiana Retail Council and Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, respectively – each testified in favor of the amended version of SB1 on Wednesday, a recent compromise that ended a longstanding feud between grocery and liquor stores, but spelled defeat for legislation expanding the sale of cold beer beyond liquor stores.
Only Lisa Hutcheson with the Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage drinking spoke in opposition to SB 1, expressing concern that the provisions of HB 1419, if passed, would not take effect until 2019 or 2020. That bill would codify certain safeguards related to the sale of alcoholic beverages, such as a requirement for all clerks to be at least 21 years old and to undergo training before selling alcohol.
“Public health and prevention appear to be an afterthought,” Hutcheson said. “…Why are those safeguards going into effect one or two years later?”
Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, was the only vote against SB 1 on Wednesday. It now moves to the full House of Representatives.