An Indiana House panel is delaying until Monday a vote on a bill that could prohibit Rickers gas station chain from selling cold beer at a couple of its facilities.
The House Public Policy Committee postponed a vote on an amendment that opponents say would not have only prevented Rickers from selling cold beer at some of its gas stations but would have also had an adverse impact on numerous other businesses in Indiana such as movie theaters and bowling alleys that serve alcohol.
An amendment to SB 358 would have changed the definition of a restaurant, for alcohol permit purposes, to any facility with at least 90 percent food and beverage sales. It would have also prohibited a restaurant in a grocery store, convenience store or drug store from selling alcohol as well.
Opponents say the current amendment was too broad and would have put other Indiana establishments either out of business or forced them to change their model. Supporters say the law was needed because Indiana has had a long-time policy of forbidding cold beer sales in gas stations.
Chairman Ben Smaltz told Indy politics he hopes to have a consensus worked out with his members by Monday. You can hear Smaltz, as well as Rickers CEO Jay Ricker and Patrick Tamm of the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers.