opinion   |  oped

EDITORIAL: Indiana liquor laws do not serve the public



coldbeer

The Indiana State government just closed a loophole in legislation that allowed Ricker's convenience stores to sell cold beer, an amenity typically limited to liquor stores. 

This was, most likely, an act persuaded by lobbyists from liquor stores. This motion does not actually represent what is best for the public.

According to an IndyStar investigation, owners of liquor stores have been influencing Indiana lawmakers for decades and not just by means of cash. They have gone to great lengths to build a long history of personal relationships in order to monopolize the alcohol-selling industry. 

Liquor store owners spent at least $850,000 on Statehouse campaign contributions from 2011 to 2016.

The Editorial Board believes it is time for the Indiana General Assembly to put to rest the years of lobbying and paid legislation from liquor stores.

It's time to start pushing forth legislation that is in the best interest of the people.

Limiting cold beer sales does not serve the public interest, but rather it only boosts revenue of liquor stores and diminishes profits from locally-owned convenience and grocery stores. 

Ultimately, this makes it inconvenient for Indiana residents to get the alcoholic products they want. And it does so without creating any extra provisions of safety. 

Advocates for liquor stores having the sole ability to sell cold beer say that it is in fact safer, since no one under 21 is allowed to enter the store. 

However, statistics from IndyStar, in conjunction with the Indiana excise police, have found that liquor stores are twice as likely as convenience stores to sell to minors and three times as likely as big-box retailers.

Along with limiting the sales of cold beer, Indiana also has laws preventing the sale of alcohol on Sundays. 

This is less a result of any supposed religious affiliation and more from the competition and influence from lobbyists. 

The thought is that if a high percentage of Americans do their weekly grocery shopping on Sundays, then it would be in their best interest to buy alcoholic beverages in that same trip to the grocery store.

However, this would steadily draw revenue away from liquor stores, which is why owners of these stores have lobbied to keep Sundays dry. 

Indiana is one of the few states that still has this prohibition-era law, and it is not only impeding on the convenience of the people, but also on the profit of alcohol retailers. 

Representatives with the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers stated, “The time has come for Sunday sales. We are eager to work together with legislators to successfully draft and pass meaningful and impactful public policy that will allow Hoosiers to purchase alcohol for carryout on Sundays for the first time since prohibition.”

A vast majority of Indiana residents also have expressed they are in favor of expanding the sales of cold beer as well as alcohol on Sundays. 

It is time that Indiana legislators stop accepting donations in return for passing legislation that benefits the few and impedes on the many. 

With a controversy as large as the one regarding alcohol may be, it is important that Indiana lawmakers stop acting on their own self interests and start listening to their constituents.

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