Well, Indiana’s alcohol laws are still a mess, but at least some members of the state legislature have taken it upon themselves to do something about it.
As we’ve previously written, a legal loophole allows Anderson-based convenience store chain Ricker’s to sell cold beer in two of its convenience stores, one in Columbus and the other in Sheridan. Earlier last month the Public Policy Committee voted 8-1 in favor of a bill which would close this loophole. (State Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, was the lone dissenting vote.)
Last week, as reported by Scott L. Miley, CNHI statehouse reporter, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, led a 40-8 vote in the Senate to approve a bill that states a convenience store, grocery or drug store should not be given a license that allows the sale of cold beer. It would also allow Ricker's to continue to sell cold beer for carryout but only until its license comes up for renewal in one year; after that, it would have to prove that 60 percent of its sales are from alcoholic beverages consumed on site. But, lawmakers are still having trouble getting on the same page.
“It is one of two bills moving through the Legislature that attempt to address the loophole,” reported Miley. “Both are facing trouble over consensus with the other chamber. In the other, Senate Bill 358, amendments were added in the House on April 5 that came out in Ricker's favor. Ricker's could hold onto and renew its permit unless it was revoked or suspended. However, the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission would not be allowed to issue a new permit similar to Ricker's until at least 2019.”
Alas, we’re still looking at the probability of a summer House committee to study alcohol permits in the state.
We haven’t fixed the state’s jumbled alcohol laws by any measure, but the first step in the direction of a solution has to be admitting we have a problem.