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Bill would allow anyone to apply for one-day liquor permit

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A bill that would allow anyone to apply for a one-day permit to sell hard alcohol has local catering companies and lawmakers concerned.

Linda Elmore, the owner of Lafayette’s Something Special, is an expert at burning glass. But when it comes to serving a glass, Elmore said not so much especially if that glass contains hard liquor.

“It could put me out of business, if there was a mishap,” said Elmore. “And I don’t want that kind of risk for one day.”

State Sen. Ron Alting doesn’t want people to be allowed to take those risks.

A bill that made its way through the House now lies in the Public Policy Committee in the Senate. Alting is the chairman of that committee, and said he plans to change the part of the bill that gives anyone the chance to apply for a one-day permit to sell hard liquor.

“The present law says you can do that, but you have to go through a caterer,” said Alting. “A caterer that has qualifications and is licensed with alcohol.”

Barbara Huddleston, the owner of Sovereign Catering said at least 15 percent of her profits come from people who need her licensed alcohol serving experience.

“We are trained bartenders,” said Huddleston. “We go through a training class, we know the signs of intoxication to look for, we know how alcohol affects people differently.”

Huddleston said they’re also insured in case something goes wrong.

“If you open it up to allowing just anyone to serve it, are you then also going to require them to carry insurance?” asked Huddleston. “If not, that’s something that they should consider. I know my company, we carry over a million dollars of liability insurance just for the alcohol portion of our business.”

Not everyone is against the idea. Dana Lank, a co-op grocery store volunteer for CityFoods in Lafayette, said they might benefit from a one-day pass.

“It would get a little bit more business our way,” said Lank. “And we still wouldn’t be in competition with like DT Kirby’s or Lafayette Brewing Company because people are going to go there anyway.”

Alting said his biggest problem with the bill is the safety issue.

Places like DT Kirby’s require a license to sell alcohol for a reason.

“We forget, when we talk about alcohol, that it is a controlled substance,” explained Alting. “It is something that has strict guidelines on it, why? Because alcohol, if not done in a responsible manner, kills.”

Elmore is not prepared to handle those kinds of consequences.

“I don’t want the responsibility of anyone consuming too much alcohol on my premises,” said Elmore.

That same bill would also allow stores to sell alcohol through an online curbside service. Alting said he plans to amend that part as well.

While he isn’t opposed to stores selling alcohol through their online service, he said the bill is poorly written. It doesn’t have any language regarding how stores would check customer ID, age of employees who transfer the alcohol, or if the curbside area is zoned for selling liquor. He said he doesn’t have time to write those requirements into the bill this session.

Alting plans to present his amendments on Wednesday during the Public Policy Committee meeting.