Controversial new twist in debate over Sunday alcohol sales

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 10, 2015) – State lawmakers will tackle the hot button issue of Sunday alcohol sales on Wednesday morning, but now there’s concern the proposal could run into a dead end yet again because of a controversial last-minute proposal that would change the way you buy hard liquor at the grocery store.

The proposed amendment would allow Sunday sales, but it would also require customers to buy liquor behind the counter at the grocery store, and if that amendment passes, the bill would not have the support of Indiana’s grocery stores that have been fighting for the Sunday sales bill for several years.

They say it would cost Indiana businesses some $100 million.

Still, on the other side, people who represent the package liquor stores say think this is a compromise they can support.

“Alcohol is a controlled product that needs to be sold in a responsible manner,” said Patrick Tamm, CEO of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers. “We believe it’s sound public policy that needs advancing.”

“This is no compromise–I can’t emphasize that enough,” said Grant Monahan of the Indiana Retail Council. “Yeah, it gives you Sunday sales, but it sets up so many new barriers for our customers that it’s not something we can support.”

The amendment was authored by the chair of the House Public Policy committee, Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to not only talk about Sunday sales, but also talk about a specific regulation the legislature has never had the opportunity to discuss,” said Dermody.

The committee will meet Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. to discuss the bill and the amendment.

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