Indiana News

Sunday alcohol bill passes through committee

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A committee in the Indiana House of Representatives passed a bill that would lead to Sunday alcohol sales.

It’s significant because it’s the first time there has been a vote in favor of Sunday alcohol sales in the General Assembly.

But the people who fought for years to reach this point are suddenly opposed to the bill. It would require retailers who are not package liquor stores to sell hard liquor at a separate counter and to segregate alcohol from the other products in their stores.

Some people against the amendments believe it could end up hurting consumers in the long run.

“I can’t imagine what kind of cost that would be involved and that’s going to get passed down to me, whether I’m buying the booze that day or not,” said customer Reed Harrig.

Harrig is in favor of the idea of being able to buy alcohol on Sundays at stores in Indiana, but he’s not a fan of some of the restrictions that are being talked about.

Grant Monahan with the Indiana Retail Council calls it anti-consumer.

“The amendment is not constructive but seeks to make it more difficult and expensive for drug, convenience and grocery stores to sell alcoholic beverages,” said Monahan.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce believes the cost to sell in those locations is mounting.

“The cost of retrofitting retail stores alone will run by conservative estimates to $50 to $60 million,” said Cam Carter of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, “and it will affect all non-liquor store retailers, large or small, big box, or mom and pop.”

Nevertheless, the committee voted 10-to-2 to send the bill to the full House.

“They would have to build counters. If they want to do it, then do it. If not, they don’t have too,” said customer Brandon Smith.

“The stores are not going to just absorb that cost,” said Harrig. “They’re going to pass it onto the consumers so I’d rather see that restriction removed.”

Liquor store owners who previously opposed Sunday sales testified in favor of the amended bill.

The author of the bill, Republican Tom Dermody of LaPorte, promised to consider changes as it moves through the legislative process.

It’s a long way from becoming law.