Only three alcohol related bills have survived the first half of the legislative session. This comes at the end of a comprehensive two year study on alcoholic retail issues that was reviewed by a study committee last summer. Among them is Senate Bill 120. The bill would allow brew pubs to sell limited quantities for carry-out on Sundays. The other two bills, 118 and 119 would allow alcohol sales on election days and extend Sunday closing times for bars, respectively. Although many bills did not make it to the midway point, Indiana Beverage Alliance President Marc Carmichael said that does not mean game over.
“Whenever there is an alcohol bill alive there is hope for those who are not included in it,” Carmichael said. “So, for the next couple of weeks, everyone who cares about alcohol issues will be keeping their eyes on 118, 119, and 120 to see if anything changes, to see if there is any amendments added. But those are the only three games in town right now.”
The Sunday sale of alcohol from stores was not introduced as a bill this session because it was voted on in the summer study committee and did not pass. However, Carmichael warned that total deregulation of alcohol is not necessarily desirable either. He cited the United Kingdom’s decision to completely deregulate as an example of what can happen.
“They have alcohol now available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. They have price wars going on with their large retailers selling it below cost,” Carmichael said. “It is so bad now, they have to set up field hospitals in the streets to handle the public drunkenness. We are selling a product that can cause problems if you try to see how much of it you can sell and how cheaply you can sell it.”
Carmichael made his comments on WFIU’s Noon Edition.