As Indiana lawmakers moved the state closer to Sunday alcohol sales a change in the bill had proponents and opponents switching sides.
The House approved HB 1624 by a vote of 10-2, however not without a major change.
The original legislation would have allowed grocery, drug and big box stores to sell alcohol on Sundays and lift restrictions on the commodities that could be sold in liquor stores.
Bill author, State Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) offered an amendment that would only allow individuals 21 and over to sell alcohol, provided they were trained and had a permit. Alcohol could only be sold in a segregated section of the store. And the most controversial portion, liquor and distilled spirits could only be sold from behind a counter.
Grant Monahan, who represents the Retail Merchants Council said the bill could cost retailers as much as $100 million in addition costs. Meanwhile, Matt Bell, who represented Big Red Liquors called the legislation smart public policy.
Ironically, although the bill dealt with Sunday sales, much of the discussion centered around children and access to alcohol. Some lawmakers felt that if children were not allowed in liquor stores then they should not be exposed to alcohol in a grocery or drug store.
Patrick Tamm of the Indiana Association Beverage Retailers says alcohol has always been a regulated product and that is what Hoosiers want. He said the amendment offers sound public policy on when and where alcohol can be sold. However, John Elliott of Kroger said the bill would harm their right to serve their customers.
The bill now heads to the full House for more amendments.