Indiana lawmaker pushes Sunday sales of alcohol, cars

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Indiana shoppers would be able to buy a six-pack of beer or a new car on Sundays if state Sen. Phil Boots is successful in rolling back two of the few remaining blue laws still in effect in Indiana.

Boots, R-Crawfordsville, has sponsored bills that would legalize Sunday purchases of carryout alcohol as well as the sales of cars, trucks and other vehicles.

"I think we should synchronize our laws with the lifestyles of today. Sundays have become the second-biggest shopping day of the week, and people should be allowed to make purchases on those days," Boots said.

Business groups say it doesn't make good business sense to change the laws. Car dealers say people can't get insurance or loans on Sundays, and retailers argue liquor stores would be at a disadvantage if forced to compete with grocery and drug stores that are already open and don't incur additional costs to open an extra day.

"I concede that it would be easier to buy alcohol, it would be more accessible, if they win this," said John Livengood, president of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, which represents many of the state's liquor stores. "But we don't think that's where we should be going.

"The laws aren't designed to make alcohol more accessible. The purpose is to control access to availability," he said.

Blue laws are rooted in the 19th century, when many Protestants believed observing the Sabbath was a form of religious obedience, said Indiana University history Professor Jim Madison.

Those religious values changed during the 20th century as individual freedoms became more important.

"We began to feel differently about what we wanted our government to tell us to do or not do," Madison said.

Many religious groups haven't made Sunday sales a priority, said Andrew Downs, assistant professor of political science at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

"It is not one of the issues that they traditionally have decided is worth going to the mat for," he said.

Boots believes most Indiana residents don't want to be told when they can buy motor vehicles or alcohol.

"I'm not trying to attack the sanctity of Sunday being the Sabbath or a day of rest or whatever you want to call it. I'm just saying it makes sense to me to allow people to make the purchases they want to make when they want to make them," he said.

Boots said he finds it odd that Indiana allows residents to go to a bar, restaurant or sporting event on a Sunday to drink before heading home, but prohibits them from buying packaged alcohol that same day so they can drive home and drink it.

"In my opinion, that encourages you to drink and drive," Boots said.

Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council, argues Sunday sales are convenient.

"It's what our consumers tell us they want," he said. "If you're heading out on a Sunday to go grocery shopping, you want the ability to buy a case of beer or a bottle of wine when you're buying all of your other groceries."

Marty Murphy, executive vice president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Indiana, said car dealers oppose Sunday sales because there hasn't been any consumer demand.

He contends that many car dealerships are open until 9 p.m. on weeknights, so people have plenty of time to buy cars. He also said most car dealers and their employees want Sundays off.

Boots said car dealerships can remain closed if they want. Murphy, though, said that wouldn't be practical if the bill passes.

"If the guy across the street opens, you can't afford to lose that potential sale," Murphy said.


  • frustrated
    I hate it when I thought I had enough beer on hand for sunday but 9 times out of 10 someone comes over Saturday night and come sunday im out of beer especially for NFL games im forced to drive 30 min. and give my money to ILL. IM A FIRM BELIEVER ON SELLING ALCHOHAL ON SUNDAYS IF A STORE DOESNT LIKE IT DONT OPEN THEN LETS KEEP OUR MONEY IN IN. BY THE WAY THE LIQUOR STORE IN ILL. HAS ALL IN. CUSTOMERS IN THERE STORE WHAT A WAIST OF MY TIME AND GAS.
  • Head out of Sand
    I still cant believe the no Sell Sunday law still exists in Indiana. I just wish I lived close to any Indiana boarder so I could easily travel across and BUY WHEN I WANT TO!! It probably causes more DUI's on Saturday nights because of intoxicated individuals who want liquor on Sunday and have to go out and buy before stores close. In addition, many states allow beer and wine sales at gas stations. You have to drive to a liquor store don't you? Liquor store owners are idiots to make the case it would hurt their sales. Have all the liquor stores in the other 49 states gone bankrupt because of Sunday sales? Stupid, Stupid, and more Stupid!!!!
  • Day off
    "He also said most car dealers and their employees want Sundays off." -No one says anyone has to work on Sunday, maybe it will open up more jobs for a Sunday opening..
  • Religion and Government
    What does God or religion have to do with government? Nothing! Don't push your beliefs on me by force of law. I have to work Sunday, every Sunday with no exceptions! And you and many others enjoy restaurants, airports, police, and fire services on Sunday to name just a few. There is no reason freedom should be suspended on Sundays because of what you believe (and many, many others do not). Let the businesses decide to open or not and you'll see what consumers are demanding.
  • car sales
    just a comment from someone that sells cars for a living,these car dealers are so greedy they will force there employees to work 12 hour shifts on sunday just like they do now . we have little or no protection under indiana law except on sunday. You would not believe how many inconsiderate people wait till 10 minutes before we close to walk in to a dealer to take a test drive after we have stood on our feet for 12 hours on asphalt,keeping half our staff to stay late.by the way our owner is at some resort in the tropics.
  • With All Due Respect
    Kay, with all due respect, observing Sunday the way you see fit is your right. If it is my choice to purchase and enjoy a beer as I am grilling out with my family, then the law should not prevent me from doing otherwise. In my mind, the law should not restrict behavior as much as it should provide incentive to do the right thing (e.g., drink & drive = go to jail; that's enough incentive for me not to do it).
  • Not good
    Sunday is our recognized day of rest and worship. It could be any day of the week for any individual, however, as a society so that the work week and church week and school week are the same for everyone, it is Sunday. This is something we learn from the Bible from God, and therefore we realize humans are to rest one day each week period and use that time to worship. Using it to extend material pleasures and income time involving cars and alcohol isn't going to be a good thing.
    • Change happens
      Customers will vote with their beer and auto purchases. Shopping for anything on Sunday has become a necessity due to busy family, work and general life styles. I doubt if there will be much change in revenue as people will still buy about the same amount of beer and a car when needed.
    • antiquated, indeed.
      The Sunday liquor law should be changed: the people have spoken. It might put a strain on some small liquor stores, but if they make a profit the other 6 days of the week, who's to say they won't also be profitable on Sunday? If they wish to remain closed on Sundays if/when the law changes, that is their decision.

      It's simple: listen to what the people want. We want to buy booze on Sunday.
      Why should we protect any business from another. Let the market forces and consumers decide which businesses will be successful and how profitable they will be. Dont rely on antiquated laws to protect your business from the free market.
      • Just Pass It Already
        It is amazing that in this day and age we still have these antiquated laws. They serve no purpose and should be changed. I thought we had a "free market" centered republican legislature. Prohibition on Sunday is nothing more than an impediment to the free market.

        The arguments against removing the restrictions are valid right now, but once they are removed a new "normal"/equilibrium is quickly reached. If you can't compete under a "free market" you should fail. If you can adapt then you will be successful. There is no need to have a protectionist (as argued by opponents of sunday sales themselves) and inefficient law.

        If you are religious you do not have to go out and buy alcohol, but no religious ideology should be legislated to any person in our state or our country.

        The legislature needs to do its job and snuff out a law long past its time.
      • Interesting-----------
        Interesting------I never thought about the liquor stores having to stay open and not having too many sales on Sunday. I can understand what they are saying-the smaller stores, particularly.

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