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Gov. Holcomb signs Sunday carryout alcohol sales bill into law

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Gov. Eric Holcomb, center, shakes hands with Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, after signing Senate Bill 1 at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Wednesday. The bill legalizes Sunday carryout sales of alcohol between noon and 8 p.m. Noble Guyon Buy Photos

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana residents can officially purchase carryout alcohol on Sundays, starting this weekend on March 4.

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Bill 1 into law Wednesday, signaling an end to the years-old law prohibiting residents from purchasing carryout alcohol on Sundays. 

Consumers were the reason the bill was finally passed.

"This is yet another example in a long list of examples where the state of Indiana has sought to and indeed modernize our laws to meet consumer expectations," Holcomb said.

For the first time in Indiana's history, the law allows liquor, grocery, drug and convenience stores to sell carryout alcohol from noon to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Holcomb was joined in his office by Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, House Speaker Brian Bosma, Senate President Pro Tempore David Long and authors of the bill, Sen. Ron Alting and Rep. Ben Smaltz. 

There is no longer a need for Hoosiers to run to the border to purchase alcohol on Sundays, Holcomb said.

"Today's a big day for just that reason," Holcomb said. "It's all about the consumers."

The state House and Senate each had their own version of the bill making its way through the assembly this session. Originally, the bill would have gone into effect starting July 1, just like all other bills passed in the Indiana General Assembly. However, the bill was amended earlier this month to go into effect as soon it became law.

Holcomb was asked why the bill was amended to go into effect immediately.

"You ask why," Holcomb said. "We asked why not."

Bosma agreed. He said in discussions of the bill in the House, everyone agreed there was no reason to wait.

The bill comes after the Indiana Alcohol Code Revision Commission made recommendations last November to allow for Sunday carryout sales.

Alting, R-Lafayette, worked with Smaltz, R-Auburn, to author bills for each chamber and eventually consolidate them into one to be signed by Holcomb.

"Today, history is made, and I'm very proud of that," Alting said.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody released a statement after the ceremonial signing, alluding to U.S. News & World Report's recent "Best States Rankings," which listed Indiana as having the third-worst quality of life. He said with the state's stagnant wages, Hoosiers want legislators to step up and prioritize important issues.

"This session, Indiana Republicans refused to even swing the bat," Zody said in the statement. "It's shameful that this appears to be a top priority. With timid leaders like Governor Holcomb and a state facing massive structural challenges, Hoosiers might just need a stiff drink.”

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