Will a change in legislative leadership change the fate of a proposal to allow Sunday carry-out alcohol sales in Indiana?
“I’m not saying yes or no but right now there’s too much education that I have to take upon myself,” said Ind. Rep. Thomas Dermody, (R) LaPorte.
Rep. Dermody has been appointed as the new chairman of the Indiana House Public Policy Committee. His ‘education’ continued this morning as he met with a beverage wholesaler in South Bend.
The change in legislative leadership and Dermody’s enthusiasm seem to have brightened the spirits of those hoping to lift the ban on Sunday sales.
“In most Kroger stores for example, it’s (Sunday) the second biggest shopping day of the week,” said John Elliott, a spokesman for Kroger from his office in Indianapolis. “We are knowingly sending sales revenue, state tax income, a proportionate number of jobs to every neighboring state.”
The latest push for Sunday sales began back in 2007. While the measure did receive its first committee hearing in 2013—it did not receive a vote; former Chairman Bill Davis refused to allow committee members to weigh in.
“The previous committee chair prevented a committee vote so the democratic process has been blocked,” said John Elliott. “Obviously, that adds to the frustration. So our hope is with a new chair on the house side, who has a reputation for treating business and economic considerations fairly, that the dialogue and dynamic will be different in the coming legislative session.”
Up to this point, Rep. Dermody has served as a numbers cruncher on the House Ways and Means Committee. His new position will have him dealing with hot-button-emotional issues from guns to gambling.
“I don't know if I bring a different attitude, I guess anytime fresh eyes can look at something there's always optimism,” said Rep. Dermody.
Former Chairman Bill Davis took a job with the Pence administration at the Office of Community and Rural Affairs.