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Controversial Alcohol Bill Clears Both Chambers As Session Ends

Lawmakers debate legislation on the House floor.

Lawmakers completed a temporary rewrite of the state’s alcohol carryout laws to address a convenience store that found a legal work-around.

Ricker’s acquired restaurant permits for two of its convenience stores. Those permits allow them to sell cold beer and hard liquor for carryout – which grocery and convenience stores have never been allowed to do.

Approved legislation creates a new carryout permit requirement – at least 60 percent of a retailer’s alcohol sales must be for on-site consumption. Almost all existing permit holders are grandfathered in, but Ricker’s is left out. They’ll likely lose carryout privileges by next April.

Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) wonders why the legislature is targeting Ricker’s.

“Why are we beating up on these people when we don’t need to? There’s no emergency; there’s no reason to address this issue in a knee-jerk reaction,” Boots says.

But Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) says the legislature has never intended for alcohol carryout at a convenience store.

“We are the policy makers of a regulated industry. Yes, it is a free market but it’s not a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk,” Alting says.

Lawmakers have pledged to review the state’s entire alcohol law system.

The Senate approved the bill 43 to six. The House passed it 84 to 13. It goes to the governor.

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