The legislative study group tasked with investigating potential changes to Indiana’s alcohol laws has made its first recommendation. The Alcohol Code Revision Commission has approved a draft bill that would permit the carry-out sale of alcohol on Sundays. WIBC/Network Indiana Statehouse Bureau Chief Eric Berman tells Inside INdiana Business the commission will take up a number of other issues, including expanding cold beer sales, when it meets again in December.
Berman says the issue of Sunday alcohol sales is fairly straightforward. The commission’s recommendation would allow retailers to sell alcohol between 12:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Sundays. Every other day of the week, alcohol can be sold until 3:00 a.m.
"When it’s cold beer, you’ve got to decide, ‘Does this apply just to grocery stores and drugstores, or are we going to allow it for convenience stores as well? Are we going to limit the hours? Are there any other restrictions that we’re going to place on this?’ You’ve got commission members who say, ‘Look, depending on what the conditions are that are attached to this, I might support it.’"
Berman says the draft bill on cold beer, as it is currently written, would allow cold beer to be sold until midnight, whereas warm beer could still be sold until 3:00 a.m. He says another issue is the draft bill included a proposal that was ultimately rejected and the commission wanted to create a new one without that proposal.
The commission will consider 18 additional proposals on a variety of alcohol-related topics, such as age restrictions for clerks who ring up alcohol purchases, increased penalties for selling alcohol to minors and banning political contributions from the alcohol industry.
The commission will meet next December 1 and December 8. Berman says the commission might vote on some or all of the remaining proposals at the first meeting and will vote on its final report at the last meeting.
The report will be given to the Indiana General Assembly, however Berman notes the final report is non-binding and the legislature could use it as a starting point for new legislation, pass it verbatim or ignore it altogether. He says it looks like the commission will urge the legislature to create separate bills for each proposal.
Berman says the Sunday alcohol sales issue is pretty straightforward.
Berman says, in addition to Sunday alcohol sales and cold beer, the commission will consider several other proposals.