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.
Though Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte, 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,’” he says. “And, it’s been made clear I don’t have the votes.”
Both grocery store lobbyists and those representing liquor stores indicate they expect the issue to come up again in future sessions.