Former lawmaker Gard to chair state alcohol-study group

Former state Sen. Beverly Gard has been chosen to chair Indiana's Alcohol Code Revision Commission, which has been tasked with updating the state’s alcohol laws, many of which have not been changed since the end of Prohibition.

“Bev Gard is a nationally respected former state legislator who brings a wealth of experience in public service to this important role,” Senate President Pro Tem David Long said in a written statement Tuesday. “I’m honored to appoint her, and I look forward to the commission’s efforts getting under way.”

The two-year commission’s creation comes after a dispute earlier this year as to who can sell cold beer. Ricker’s convenience stores came under fire after obtaining a restaurant license for two of locations by selling made-to-order Tex-Mex style food. The restaurant license allowed the convenience store to sell cold carryout alcohol.

That left lawmakers questioning how the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission decided to hand out a license. Many lawmakers agree that major changes need to be made to the state’s alcohol laws.

Gard, along with the rest of the commission that is yet to be appointed, will spend two years reviewing Indiana’s alcohol laws. In the first year, the commission will focus on recommendations for the retail sector of Indiana laws.

“I’m hopeful the work we do will result in common-sense reforms that promote public safety and benefit all Hoosiers,” Gard said in a written comments. “I intend to take a comprehensive and unbiased approach to the considerable task this commission has been assigned.”

Gard was a Republican member of the Indiana Senate for 24 years until she retired in 2012. While in the Senate, she was chair of the Committee on Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Committee on Governmental and Regulatory Affairs.

Since her retirement, she has served as the chair of the Indiana Environmental Rules Board as well as a commissioner of the Indiana Lobby Registration Commission.

“She is fair-minded and has proven herself to be a smart, effective leader during her extensive service in the Indiana Senate and in several important public roles since leaving office,” said Long.

When the commission’s remaining members are appointed, Gard will work with the members to schedule the first meeting.

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