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Proposed alcohol restrictions tossed

February 14, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS - New restrictions for retailers selling carryout alcohol were stripped from a wide-ranging alcohol bill Wednesday.

The House Public Policy Committee then voted 12-1 to send House Bill 1518 to the House floor.

The most controversial part of the bill would have required grocery, drug and convenience stores to segregate alcohol to one area of the store. That means end-cap specials on wine or liquor at the checkouts would not be allowed.

Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, is the author of the bill and defended the language. He also chairs the committee.

“I think we have lost control,” he said, noting alcohol is spread around stores in easy view of minors.

But Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, offered an amendment to remove the language - essentially leaving the law as it is now.

“It’s a free market amendment,” he said. “I haven’t heard of any real big issues on the way the practice is happening now.”

Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, said the issue of alcohol being placed all around a store with large Captain Morgan’s cutouts or spirits in the diaper section comes up every year.

“We need to have a common-sense approach,” he said and voted against the amendment.

It narrowly passed 7-6 and was the language was removed from the bill.

nkelly@jg.net

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