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Committee Recomends Continued Ban On Sunday Alcohol

Last updated on Wednesday, October 21, 2009

(INDIANA STATEHOUSE) - A 12-member legislative study committee has recommended continuing Indiana’s bans on cold beer sales in grocery stores and Sunday alcohol sales in any store.

Committee Chairman Rep. Trent Van Haaften (D-Mount Vernon) says retailers haven't made their case for changing the law.

Liquor store owners campaigned fiercely against both changes, warning either could put several stores out of business.

They had the backing of several safety groups who argued expanded alcohol sales would increase underage drinking and drunken driving.

A recommendation in favor of the changes would not guarantee passage, and the recommendation in favor of the status QUO does not end the debate.

Sen. James Merritt (R-Indianapolis) says he plans to survey his constituents before the next legislative session convenes in January, before deciding whether to bring the Sunday sales proposal before the full senate.

The debate helped scuttle another proposal before the study panel, to allow microbreweries to make limited sales on Sunday.

Former House Rules Chairman Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) points out that while study committee recommendations are nonbinding, recommending a bill does create pressure to at least give the bill a hearing.

He notes a Sunday-sales bill for microbreweries would essentially guarantee the introduction of broader Sunday-sales legislation as an amendment.

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