Bill allowing state fair alcohol sales heads to governor

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Alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair are one step from reality after a bill to repeal the ban passed the Indiana House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The legislation is now headed to Gov. Mike Pence to be signed or vetoed. The bill passed 75-20.

The bill, authored by Sen. James Merritt, R-Indianapolis, seeks to end a nearly 70-year old ban on beer and alcohol sales at the state fair.

Indiana is currently the only state in the nation to completely ban alcohol from its state fair. North Carolina, which has limited alcohol sales at its state fair, is the closest state to Indiana in terms of restrictions.

The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, spoke Tuesday to encourage its passage.

“What the state fair proposes to do is have a confined area where you would have to be 21 to enter,” Torr said. “So it’s not going to be people carrying beers all over the state fair grounds. It’s going to be a confined area, like a beer garden, with controlled access.

“Nobody is going to be able to take anything out of there,” Torr said. “It’s their intention to highlight Indiana brewed beer and wine from Indiana wineries.”

Rep. David Ober, R-Albion, said a constituent was concerned about whether the bill could extend alcohol sales to county fairs. But Torr said the it only applies to the Indiana State Fair.

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