Holcomb Drops Legislative Hints, Talks Liquor Laws
FISHERS - With less than two months until the General Assembly gathers for the official start of the next legislative session, Governor Eric Holcomb has provided a taste of what his legislative priorities with be in 2018. During discussions with members of the media following an unveiling Monday of Fuzic Inc.'s plans to add more than 250 jobs in Fishers, Holcomb said, "surprise, surprise," his focus will continue to be heavy on the economy and infrastructure, though he adds he remains "open-minded" about the ongoing debate over Indiana's liquor laws.
Full details of the governor's legislative agenda are slated to be announced prior to Organization Day for the Indiana House and Senate November 21.
The key points Holcomb says he will focus on include "everything we can do to make our state economy stronger and more diversified, everything we can do to make sure our infrastructure -- that's ports, air and water, roads and bridges, rail, all-of-the-above -- are as strong as they can possibly be leveraging one of our greatest assets, that's our location." He added other keys include the work force, efforts to "bend down that curve" of the opioid epidemic and government efficiency.
Though it won't be a primary focus of his efforts, Holcomb said "I'm all about modernizing our laws," which he said includes being open-minded on matters like Sunday alcohol sales and regulations on cold beer. "As we huddle up come January, I'm looking forward to seeing what comes out of the summer study committees and I'll remain in that place," Holcomb added.
State lawmakers have been reviewing alcohol restrictions for the last month during between-session study committees and hearings conducted by the Alcohol Revision Commission. The commission is scheduled to meet again October 10 and will provide recommendations to lawmakers in each of the next two sessions. Last week, the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers reaffirmed its support for Sunday alcohol sales at retailers including liquor stores and grocery stores. The IABR represents some 1,000 package store owners statewide and called the ban on Sunday carryout sales "antiquated." Bills supporting Sunday sales died in the General Assembly in the last two sessions.