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Indiana Senate panel backs Sunday sales with limited hours

January 10, 2018

An Indiana Senate panel on Wednesday approved a proposal that would allow carryout sales of alcohol on Sundays throughout the state.

The Senate public policy committee voted 9-0 to advance the proposal, which would allow carryout sales of alcohol from noon to 8 p.m., sending it to the full Senate for amendments and approval.

It's the first time such a proposal has passed the committee despite years of efforts from advocates to advance the issue.

The House public policy committee also met Wednesday to discuss a similar bill, but it did not take a vote.

The support for the bill follows a truce between the package liquor store lobby, represented by the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, and retail store lobby, represented by the Indiana Retail Council, following years of fighting between the groups. For years, the package liquor store lobby has opposed Sunday sales and the retail stores have wanted it. And the retail stores have wanted to sell cold beer just like the package liquor stores have been able to do.

Now, the deal between the groups is that the package liquor store lobby will lobby for Sunday carryout sales and the retail stores will lobby against expanding cold beer sales.

“The agreement is that we would oppose the expansion of cold beer sales,” Grant Monahan, president of the Indiana Retail Council, told Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, earlier Wednesday when asked about the truce between the groups. “The legislative landscape changes. The opportunity to work with the liquor store owners on alcoholic beverage issues presented itself.”

John Sinder, owner of Crown Liquors and chairman of the beverage retailers association, said he was “proud to announce our very strong support of this bill.”

“It’s now time,” Sinder said. “Our customers have increasingly indicated they’d like to see sales of alcohol on carryout on Sundays.”

Senate public policy committee chairman Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, said the bill was advanced in part because the two major forces lobbying for the bill “smoked a peace pipe” and came to an agreement.

Senate Bill 1 advances to the full Senate for amendments or a vote, but not until after a hearing and a vote on a cold beer bill (SB 26) in committee, Alting said.

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