Monahan: Alcohol law is outdated, easy to fix
Friday, December 26, 2014 4:51 PM
Prohibition was repealed in 1933 after the American people realized that it simply didn't make sense. Following the repeal, states enacted their own laws governing the sale of alcohol and, over the course of the next 81 years, those laws were eventually modernized to reflect the changes that were taking place across the country. Everyone would agree, times have changed in Indiana since 1933, but when it comes to the carryout sales of alcohol, it's exactly the same.
Grant Monahan is the President of the Indiana Retail Council. Hoosiers for Sunday Sales is a group of Indiana consumers, businesses and trade groups advocating for Sunday alcohol sales in Indiana. www.HoosiersForSundaySales.com
The logic behind allowing Sunday sales in Indiana is simple. It gives consumers a choice and makes their lives more convenient. Sunday has become the second biggest shopping day of the week, but because of our archaic laws, Hoosiers are prohibited from purchasing a consumer product that is legal to buy responsibly six days a week, but not on Sunday. It also gives retailers a choice. They can choose to sell alcohol on Sunday or they can choose not to do so. Like consumers, the choice is theirs.
Indiana is the only state in the U.S. that allows the sale of alcohol by the drink at bars, restaurants and sports venues on Sunday yet prohibits carryout sales for consumption at home. Every one of our surrounding states gives consumers the choice, but not Indiana. Since 2002, at least 16 states have repealed laws restricting Sunday carryout sales. Meanwhile, Indiana continues with the status quo denying consumers that choice.
What if milk was illegal to sell on Tuesday? What if ketchup was illegal to sell on Thursday? It wouldn't make sense. For those who don't eat cereal, cookies or French fries, they might not care, but for the rest of us, we'd all be scratching our heads...and consumers would be up in arms.
Indiana is an outlier on this issue and we don't have to be. For Hoosiers who live in one of our border counties, it may be easy to cross over into Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio or Michigan to do their shopping on Sunday, but for the rest of us, that convenience isn't there. And for the retailers and their employees in those Indiana border counties who are losing business to neighboring states, this is about more than convenience. It is about retail growth and jobs.
This is an issue in Indiana whose time has come. By no means is it an issue that is as important as education and it doesn't impact our economy as much as building roads or bridges. However, this issue is much simpler, has no financial cost to taxpayers and does nothing but give Hoosiers greater convenience in their lives. It's finally time to move into the 21st century and give consumers and retailers a choice. Haven't we waited long enough?