Indiana booze study commission unlikely to call for big reforms

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A state task force conducting an in-depth review of Indiana's alcohol laws is likely to conclude its two-year study without recommending major reforms.

The Alcohol Revision Commission hashed out preliminary recommendations Friday that it will make to the state Legislature, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.

They will likely to include tinkering with the population-based alcohol sales permit quota system. That would give restaurants in growing communities the opportunity to secure permits—even when the local resident count normally would not justify it.

The commission also is likely to recommend tougher penalties for alcohol retailers who sell to minors.

It is not expected to take a position on whether Indiana should allow retailers other than package liquor stores to sell cold beer.

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma replaced commission leader Beverly Gard in May with Bill Davis, a former Republican representative from the Indiana city of Portland, who is known traditionally to oppose the expansion of alcohol laws. Davis turned down hearings and voted against Sunday alcohol sales in 2012 and 2013 as the chair of the House Public Policy Committee.

Gard said she had been open to discussing cold beer sales, a controversial topic that was debated and rejected by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year. But she said she expected the direction of the committee to change under the leadership of Davis.

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