Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

State News

December 16, 2011

Sunday sales topic comes back up

(Continued)

But apparently some people do. Rep. Cindy Noe, an Indianapolis Republican who will sponsor the Sunday-sales legislation in the House, said her constituents routinely complain to her that they can't pick up a six-pack of beer on a Sunday to share over an Indianapolis Colts game or buy of bottle of wine for Sunday dinner. "It's inconvenient," said Noe. "It's not what consumers want."

And the organization that backs Sunday sales cites its online petition, posted on a Website called ChangeitIndiana.org, that has 53,000 signatures of people who want Indiana alcohol laws to change. Livengood said that number represents less than one percent of Hoosiers and he questioned whether those signatures belonged to Indiana residents of legal drinking age.

One tactic that's different from past years where similar legislation has failed is that cold beer will be separated from hard liquor.  Boots and Noe plan to introduce two pieces of legislation when the legislature goes back into session Jan. 4. One bill would legalize carry-out alcohol sales on Sunday; the other would allow grocery, drug, convenience and big-box stores to start selling cold beer, as long as it's Indiana brewed.

Indiana's current law allows only Indiana-owned liquor stores to sell cold beer, which helps explain one of buttons that was distributed at the press conference by cold-beer bill backers which says: "End the Cold Beer Monopoly."

Noe and Boots both said their bills are economic development tools, that would allow Indiana retailers to make more sales and more money that would lead to more jobs and more tax revenues. They cited studies that Indiana loses approximately $9 million in tax revenues annually to neighboring border states because of its ban on Sunday alcohol sales. Livengood cited another study that said the revenue impact would be minimal, since consumers would just be shifting their alcohol purchases from other days of the week.

Maureen Hayden is the Statehouse bureau chief for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com  

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