INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - State lawmakers will formally begin the debate Wednesday over whether to allow Sunday alcohol sales in Indiana.
Right now, Indiana is the only state to prohibit carry-out sales on Sunday.
"I think it's silly you can't sell on Sunday," said David Upshaw of Indianapolis as he loaded groceries into his car Sunday afternoon. "What's the difference between selling it on a Saturday night and Sunday morning? It's just another day."
"It just kind of seems like it's an old law that just needs to be re-addressed," said another shopper.
Some lawmakers hope to do just that with two proposed bills that would relax the restrictions.
Supporters of the change say it doesn't make sense Indiana is that last state in the country where you can buy alcohol in a restaurant on Sunday but not from a store and take it home.
But not everyone thinks the change would be a good thing.
"Very simply put, Sunday sales in Indiana would cost two-thousand Hoosier jobs," said Ray Cox, owner of Elite Beverages, a local chain of package liquor stores that employs 35 people. "It's really a big guy, little guy issue.
Cox said mom and pop shops like his would have to pay employees to stay open Sundays and compete with the national grocery chains, big box stores, and convenience stores that are already open.
He also said it would spread out six days' worth of sales over seven days and increase their costs. Smaller beverage retailers say those bigger chains would eventually drive them out of business.
"So unfortunately for the little bit of convenience that Hoosiers would get out of it, it would cost jobs," said Cox who added smaller retailers tend to supply more local and specialty beer and wines.
"So if you lose package stores … you lose selection, brand builders, and you lose outlets for smaller ma and pa-type wineries in Indiana and smaller breweries," he said.
There have been behind-the-scenes battles over Sunday alcohol sales for years. But legislative leaders now say it's time to bring the debate out in the open.
"We're sent here by the people to make decisions on difficult issues and they can't always stay bottled up all the time," said House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City.
"Most Hoosiers are smart enough, if they want beer or wine on Sunday, to purchase it on Saturday. Apparently that's not the case for everyone and that's okay," said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.
A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Statehouse.
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