INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some business groups have started a new push aimed at ending Indiana’s longtime ban on Sunday alcohol sales at retail stores.
The Hoosiers for Sunday Sales coalition announced a campaign Tuesday to build support for a bill that would allow such sales in groceries, pharmacies and liquor and convenience stores. The group includes the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Retail Council, which includes grocery stores among its membership.
Liquor store owners have opposed lifting the Sunday ban, arguing the change would benefit large chain grocery and convenience stores.
Previous campaigns to overturn the ban have failed to advance in the Legislature.
Senate Public Policy Committee Chairman Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, has declined to bring up bills to allow Sunday sales in recent legislative sessions, but recognizes that convenience is increasingly important.
“If the House has a bill come over, we will definitely have a very serious discussion and consideration,” he told The Indianapolis Star.
“You know I can’t make that commitment right now on whether or not there will be a hearing,” he added. “In the past, you’ve never even gotten the word ‘consideration’ out of me.”
Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers chief executive Patrick Tamm said the liquor store trade group believed the lobbying push is a repeat of previous unsuccessful efforts backed by national grocery store chains.
Indiana is the only state that prohibits retail carryout sales of beer, wine and liquor on Sundays, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
Supporters of repealing the ban maintain that Indiana stores lose millions of dollars a year in business, which also means lost tax revenue.
“If you go into the store to buy a beer and you’re having the neighbors over to watch a Colts game, despite what the liquor stores have convinced some legislators, that sale’s not going to happen on Monday when they could buy alcohol again,” Kroger spokesman John Elliott told WIBC-FM.
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