Legislation would allow alcohol at retirement, nursing homes

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Residents of a Bloomington retirement home are spearheading a legislative push to allow alcohol to be served at Indiana’s nursing homes and retirement communities.

Three Meadowood Retirement Community residents worked on the proposal after the home was cited by state excise police for serving alcohol without an alcohol beverage permit.

The bill to let alcohol be served at such homes without a permit was presented Wednesday during a House committee hearing by state Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte. A vote on it was tabled by the committee.

State Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, worked on the bill with Meadowood residents.

“For Rep. Pierce: Anybody that had to face 82 angry seniors deserves acknowledgment,” Dermody said during the hearing.

The Herald-Times reports state code doesn’t include senior facilities among locations such as convention centers that don’t need the permit to serve alcohol.

Meadowood resident Ron Kovener said pre-dinner drinks and Friday socials with alcohol have long been a staple at the retirement home. Another resident, Carol VerWiebe, said someone tipped off the excise police.

“All of the sudden, they’re treating us not as our homes but as some sort of bar,” Kovener said.

The proposed change has the backing of the Indiana Health Care Association, a trade association that represents senior living facilities. Dennis Neary, the group’s director of legislative and political affairs, said these homes shouldn’t be treated the same as restaurants.

“This is a nursing home, not a nursing bar and grill,” Neary said.

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Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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