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Alcohol Law Commission Recommendations Likely To Focus On Permits

The House Chamber at the Indiana Statehouse (Lauren Chapman, IPB News)

The Indiana commission tasked with a reform of the state’s alcohol laws will finalize its recommendations for the General Assembly at the end of the month.

It’s likely those recommendations will deal almost entirely with the state’s alcohol permit system.

Commission members proposed and discussed potential recommendations at their meeting Friday. Some suggestions were bold – one member wants to eliminate the state’s quota system, in which the state controls how many alcohol permits are allowed in communities. Other members, like Terry Bauer, balked at the idea.

“I’m here to tell you, I’d be willing to take an educated guess it’s going to be total chaos,” Bauer says.

The commission also discussed significant reform of the permit escrow system. Right now, people can buy permits from the state and hold on to them without using them for years if their business isn’t ready to open. Rep. Ben Smaltz (R-Auburn) says that’s rife with issues.

“I think we need to set the bar very high to get a permit initially and extend your permit into escrow,” Smaltz says.

The commission plans to vote on its final recommendations Sept. 28.

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