Sunday alcohol sales bills take step forward

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – Indiana is one step closer to allowing Hoosiers to purchase alcohol on Sundays at stores.

Wednesday, key lawmakers met to talk Sunday sales in both the House and the Senate.

State Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) said his Sunday Sales bill is pretty much the same as the Senate version, authored by State Senator Ron Alting (R-Lafayette).

Wednesday, both bills took a big step.

Senate Chambers were packed Wednesday afternoon. Alting, chairman of the Public Police Committee, championed his bill.

“If you notice, there’s no one fighting in the halls, there’s no one fighting in here,” Alting said. “There’s really no big strong opposition of it.”

After testimony, Alting’s bill, Senate Bill 1, passed out of committee by a 9-0 vote.

“I’m hoping we don’t get bombarded down in second readings, and that’s why I mentioned that,’ Alting explained. “That’s also been the death of these good bills like this.”

Grocery chain Kroger was represented during testimony in the House Public Policy Committee.

“I’m here to express Kroger’s support for House Bill 1051, allowing for Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages in Indiana,” Kroger spokesman Eric Halvorson said. “The additional few hours are important to our customers.”

Both bills in the House and Senate would allow alcohol sales in grocery, convenience, liquor and drug stores from noon to 8 p.m.

But Indiana’s Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking wants strict amendments to both bills. For example, they want separation for in-store advertising.

“We’re just concerned that sometimes there are advertisements for the Super Bowl for beer right next to you know, kids books and things like that,” said Lisa Hutchenson, Vice President of Indiana’s Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.

Smaltz, who chairs the House Public Policy Committee, said he is confident his bill will progress.

“Anything can happen in this process when it comes out the committee,” Smaltz said. “I think it’ll come out of the committee pretty clean.”

Smaltz said he expects a committee vote on his Sunday sales bill sometime next week.

Alting promised cold beer sales will get a hearing and a vote on the Senate floor next week.