The debate about whether to allow Sunday retail sales of alcohol heated up Wednesday at the statehouse. Advocates against Sunday sales say deregulation would hurt small liquor stores.
Currently in Indiana, alcohol can only be served ‘in-house’ on Sunday, with a few exceptions. A bill in the House would lift that ban.
Grant Monahan is President of the Indiana Retail Council. His group represents grocery, convenient, and drug stores in the state. He says Indiana’s so called ‘blue laws’ are outdated and legislators should let the free market regulate sales.
“This issue is about customer convinced and I have previously said. It is also about retail job creations, and gaining back retail sales and economic growth, particularly for the hundreds of retailers along Indiana’s borders that see customers go to neighboring states to perchance alcohol,” he says.
Opponents of the bill however, say Sunday sales place an unfair burden on liquor store owners. Warren Scheidt is a Columbus businessman whose family owns the Cork Liquor chain. He says the bill would burden the package liquor industry.
“The concept of us being open on Sunday would be a terrible financial hardship for our industry, because of the added costs it would impose, without having very much additional increase in sales,” he says.
Opponents heavily outweighed supporters in the committee hearing. No vote was taken on the bill Wednesday, and heavy lobbying against the measure could keep it from passing out of committee to face a full vote in the house.