INDIANAPOLIS | The state's prohibition on Sunday take-home alcohol sales got a close look Wednesday by a House committee considering legislation to end the ban.
House Bill 1146, which is set for a committee vote later this month, would allow retailers to sell alcohol on Sundays for home consumption. Currently, Hoosiers can only get a drink on Sundays at bars, restaurants, microbreweries or wineries.
State Rep. Sean Eberhart, R-Shelbyville, the sponsor of the proposal, said it's past time to end Indiana's "truly outdated and silly" Sunday sales ban and allow retailers to compete seven days a week.
"I want government out of the way as much as possible," Eberhart said. "The liquor store industry is the main reason that Hoosiers are the only adults in the nation that can't pick up beer, wine or liquor on Sunday and take it home."
More than a dozen liquor store owners told the committee Sunday sales would drive up their labor costs, reduce their profits and possibly put them out of business.
Many cited a Ball State University study showing that between 1980 and 2007 states that legalized Sunday sales had fewer total liquor stores following legalization.
Religious leaders concerned their members won't show up to worship on Sundays if they can buy alcohol instead and academics warning of the health risks of alcohol use also spoke against the proposal.
The legislation is supported by the Indiana Retail Coalition, an organization of grocery, drug and convenience stores.
Coalition President Grant Monahan told the committee his members hate having to tell their adult customers they can't buy alcohol when they want to.
In addition, he said grocery stores near the state's borders often lose other sales on Sundays as customers leave Indiana to shop where they can buy their alcohol and groceries in one place.