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10/11/2017 10:36:00 AM
Sunday alcohol sales could come with restrictions

Scott L. Miley, Herald Bulletin CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS — If the Indiana General Assembly visits the Sunday sales of alcohol, there could be stipulations on the hours that sales are allowed and having alcohol sold in restricted sections of a store.

The issue of Sunday sales cropped up at the end of a meeting Tuesday of the Alcohol Code Revision Commission, a panel of legislators and lay members. The commission is to make a recommendation to the legislature concerning retail sales by Nov. 1.

Indiana currently prohibits carry-out sales of alcohol on Sundays. 

If the legislature moves toward Sunday sales, "I would like to see us continue the discussion on limiting access within the retail world," State Rep. and commission member Matthew Lehman, R-Berne, said.

"The first Sunday in July after any Sunday sales bill passes, there will be an enormous push of displays as soon as you walk into that retail store. You will see Captain Morgan. You will see Bud Light. You will see every alcohol beverage throughout that store in every segment of that store to celebrate Sunday sales."

Lehman added, "I want to continue that discussion of segmentation of putting alcohol away from where it's accessible to the general public."

Others suggested that Sunday sales be applied uniformly to outlets.

"If we start looking at that, I'm suggesting this and I'm begging, don't piecemeal it that it takes an officer an hour-and-a-half to figure out what the hours of operation are, what they can sell," said commission member and former state excise officer Terry Bauer. "Be consistent across the board."

Commission chair Beverly Gard, a former state senator from Greenfield, told the commission that recommendations, such as limiting sales to 6 p.m. on Sundays, should be provided at the next meeting on Oct. 25.

"Some of those recommendations could get pretty complex if we decide to do it," Gard said.

State Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, urged the panel to consider mandatory carding where all alcohol purchasers in Indiana show their identification and date of birth.

Earlier, the commission members heard that the most common retail venue where minors buy alcohol is at restaurants, followed by bars, liquor stores and, listed as fourth, grocery stores. At least 60 percent of those under 21 years of age bought alcohol from a retailer simply by not showing identification to prove they are of legal age, said Eric Teske, assistant director of Substance Abuse Prevention for the IUPUI Office of Health and Wellness Promotion.

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