State must simplify laws on liquor sales

Kpc News Service

Leaders of the Indiana Legislature are right: The state’s tangled laws governing the sale of alcohol need a thorough review.

But their idea to put everything on hold while they figure things out is too drastic.

Legislators are in a tizzy because two convenience stores found a way to work around the rules and obtained permits to serve cold beer and liquor as if they were restaurants.

Speaker of the House Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, says the state needs to preserve its ban on selling gasoline and cold beer in the same place.

A hasty attempt to revise the rules in this year’s legislative session has led to chaos. One version of a rewrite would have made it possible for a hardware store to qualify as a restaurant.

With only two weeks until the Legislature adjourns, Bosma and Senate leader David Long, R-Fort Wayne, have thrown up their hands. They’re proposing to slap a moratorium on new restaurant permits until legislators come up with a plan — likely a year from now.

The financial success of new restaurants often depends on being able to sell alcohol. Forcing developers of new restaurants to halt their plans while legislators get their act together would be unfair to those entrepreneurs and bad for the Hoosier economy.

Legislators need to simplify the convoluted laws governing alcohol sales. While doing so, they should try a new strategy for Indiana — giving some weight to what consumers want.

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