Sunday alcohol sales bill filed Tuesday

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- It’s a matter that’s been talked for decades in Indiana. Sunday alcohol sales are something those in Michiana have grown accustomed to. The options are either buying whatever alcohol you would like on Saturday or, if you’re a procrastinator, drive across the border into Michigan to buy your booze on Sunday. Well, as you’ve surely heard before, that process may be coming to a close in Indiana.

Tuesday, a bill was filed by Republican Rep. Sean Eberhart of Shelbyville, to repeal Sunday alcohol sales in the state of Indiana. This is a long time coming because of the 12 states that ban liquor sales on Sundays in the United States; Indiana is the only one remaining that does not allow beer, wine or liquor sales. However, there is still plenty of opposition to the antiquated law from local liquor store owners.

“I would be against it because it would hurt our sales,” Janice Adkins, employee at Landmark Liquor in South Bend said. “If people are going to the grocery store to get cold beer or whatever they're going for, they'll buy it there. They're not going to stop here.”

While Landmark Liquor is going out of business in February after having their land bought by another company, Adkins thinks if this law passes she would be out of a job.

“It would put us out of business,” Adkins said. “I’m for sure of that because people would do one stop shopping instead of making a special trip here. Most people are coming here for one thing only and that’s something to drink.”

Those arguing for this bill say the state is losing $10-12 million in tax revenue each year by not permitting Sunday sales. However, some people aren’t concerned with the financials.

“I think it would keep us safer actually,” Cameron Kois of Osceola said. “People would drink at home more. People would go get that case of beer having their friends and family over and stay at home. Stay a little safer. But I’m for it. I don't have a large opinion on it since I turned 21 maybe 3 weeks ago.”

And with arguments from both sides, there’s plenty to mull over.

“Is it necessary?” said Tom Dermody, Public Policy Chairman. “Do we need it? Is it worthy of a discussion or do we want to keep hearing about this year after year after year? That's something many legislators have come to me with saying ‘Hey this continues being a topic when it's not the most important issue we're dealing with,’ especially when we have a budget. Some people want to push it off, some people say that it's fine either way, but time to deal with it.”

This is still a long process and Dermody says it won’t be passed until July 1, 2015 at the very soonest. That’s if everything goes well for the bill. It could not go further than Dermody’s desk after he reviews it. However, proponents of the bill are happy with the steps being made.

“We’re obviously very pleased that Representative Eberhart introduced his Sunday Sales Bill,” President of Indiana Retail Council, Grant Monahan said. “It’s a proposal we absolutely support. We think it’s the right thing to do for our customers. The customer is so time starved that retailers need to do everything they can to accommodate the customer. That’s what we’re trying to do with this proposal.”