12 February 2010

Senate Bill 75 - SUPERSIZED!

Senate Bill 75, which would allow carryout sales on Sundays from Indiana's Microbreweries, passed the Senate with a lot of support. In the House, it has been assigned to the Public Policy Committee, which is chaired by Rep. VanHaaften.

It has not been reflected on the General Assembly website yet, but we have heard that two other alcohol related bills that passed the Senate will be combined with Senate Bill 75, create one alcohol bill for the House to consider. This would throw the bill back to the Senate for consideration.

This is seen as a mostly positive move by the lawyer and lobbyist for the Brewers of Indiana Guild. All three bills were authored or co-authored by Sen. Alting and all three bills are co-sponsored in the House by Reps. VanHaaften and Bell. It is viewed that having the three bills tied together provides strength in numbers.

One of the added Senate Bills is 118, which would allow alcohol sales in Indiana during polling hours. The other bill is 119, which would make Sunday serving hours the same as the other six days of the week. But there is more to it than that:
Allows the holder of a retailer's permit to sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m. the following day. (Under current law, the holder of a retailer permit may sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 12:30 a.m. the following day). Makes it a Class B misdemeanor for an alcoholic beverage permittee or permittee's employee or agent to recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally sell, barter, exchange, provide, or furnish another person alcoholic beverages for carryout without first requiring the person to produce proof that the person is at least 21 years of age by: (1) a driver's license; (2) a government issued identification card; or (3) a government issued document; that bears the person's photograph and birth date. Provides that it is a defense in a criminal or administrative proceeding that the individual to whom the alcoholic beverages were sold appeared to be at least 50 years of age. Requires a permittee who sells alcoholic beverages for carryout to post a sign that informs consumers that state law requires a purchaser to produce identification to purchase alcoholic beverages for carryout. Provides that, in a criminal prosecution or proceeding before the alcohol and tobacco commission, it is a defense to a charge of unlawfully furnishing alcohol to a minor that the purchaser produced a government issued document bearing the purchaser's photograph and showing the purchaser to be at least 21 years of age.

The latter part of the bill will basically require everybody to produce an ID to purchase carryout alcohol, which could be a pain to some small business owners (i.e. microbreweries), but essentially doesn't seem like a bad idea, in my opinion. If you basically make it law, then nobody should get pissed because they have to produce identification to purchase carryout alcohol. Why this doesn't apply for alcohol purchases consumed on site, I'll never know.

The Public Policy committee will consider the Supersized Senate Bill 75 on Wednesday, February 17th at 8:30am.

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