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Sunday Alcohol Sales Bill Is Dead

Christian Newton

Legislation to legalize Sunday alcohol sales is dead after its author couldn’t muster enough votes to pass it. 

The bill began with simple language: legalize Sunday alcohol sales.  But pushback from liquor stores created an amendment in committee, one that imposed new regulations on grocery and convenience stores and pharmacies that sell alcohol.  Those regulations included requirements that clerks be 21 years old, alcohol be sectioned off to one area of the store, and hard liquor be put behind a counter where customers could not access it without an employee’s help.  Retailers raised an outcry, saying those restrictions would be too costly.  The bill’s longtime supporters became its loudest opponents.  And though LaPorte Republican Representative Tom Dermody tried to rally support for his bill, he says he couldn’t push it through…not even to keep the issue alive for consideration in the Senate.

“Because this is a vote of conscience – you can’t force people to say, ‘Hey, vote just to keep the bill alive based on alcohol.’  And it’s been made clear I don’t have the votes," says Dermody.

Both grocery store lobbyists and those representing liquor stores indicate they expect the issue to come up again in future sessions.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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