Head of alcohol commission 'bothered' by lobbyist booze deal – Idaho Statesman

The chairwoman of a commission reviewing Indiana’s antiquated alcohol laws said Tuesday that she was troubled by the actions of two powerful lobbying groups that recently announced a deal which they claim will lead to the elimination of a retail Sunday alcohol sales ban.

The Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers and the Indiana Retail Council said Friday that they resolved longstanding differences that previously led state lawmakers to give up on efforts to overturn the Prohibition-era Sunday carryout sales ban.

Liquor store owners represented by the beverage association agreed to drop their opposition to Sunday sales, which they previously argued would allow grocery stores to siphon away business on a major shopping day. In return, retailers will oppose a proposal that would allow convenience and grocery stores to sell cold beer — a right primarily enjoyed by liquor stores.

But Bev Gard, who leads the Alcohol Code Revisions Commission, says the groups are “really jumping the gun” at a time when her commission is still doing work at the Legislature’s request. What’s more, she noted the agreement would cut out convenience stores that are seeking the ability to sell cold — and not just warm — beer.

“The way the issue was framed, it sounds like these two associations have come to a compromise, so that’s going to be the new policy for the state,” said Gard, a former Republican state Senator, who said she was “bothered” by the announcement.

Any actual change in law will require legislation signed by the governor. But Indiana’s package liquor stores, which have donated generously to lawmakers’ campaign funds, have enjoyed outsized influence for decades.

“Obviously they’ve had their way for a long time,” said Gard, who characterized the lobbying influence of as “significant.”

The beverage retailers association did not respond to a request

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