Chesterton Tribune



Bill would force IACT to grant liquor permit to state parks without local ABC oversight

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A state senator representing portions of Marion and Hamilton counties in Central Indiana has authored a bill which would require the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to issue a three-way license to the Department of Natural Resources “for one or more state parks if a proper application is made.”

Under SB 188, introduced by State Sen. James Merritt, R-31st, a permit issued to a state park pursuant to the bill would be exempt from the following, according to the bill’s digest:

* Exempt from “local board investigation and hearing on the application.”

* Exempt from “quota restrictions.”

* And exempt from “requirements regarding the character of the permit applicant and the location of the permit.”

The salient language of the bill puts it this way: “Upon proper application, the commission shall issue a permit to the department for the state park that is the subject of the application without: (1) publication of notice or investigation before a local board; and (2) regard to the quota provisions.”

More: the bill provides for a carve-out of four statutes to which an alcohol permit issued to a state park would not be subject:

* The permit would not be subject to IC 7.1-3-9-10, which states: “The commission may issue a liquor retailer’s permit only to a high grade club, restaurant, or hotel which has a high and fine reputation for decency and law obedience. In no case shall a liquor retailer’s permit be issued or stand unrevoked if the owner, manager, or management of the establishment is not a person of strict integrity and high repute.”

* The permit would not be subject to IC 7.1-3-21-1, which states: “The commission shall not issue a permit in respect to premises situated outside the corporate limits of an incorporated city or town except as otherwise specifically provided in this article.

* The permit would not be subject to IC 7.1-5-5-7, which states: “It is unlawful for a [alcohol] permittee . . . to discriminate between purchasers by granting a price, discount, allow, or service charge not available to all purchasers at the same time.”

* And the permit would not be subject to IC 7.1-5-10-20(a)(1), which states: “It is unlawful for a holder of a retailers permit to . . . [s]ell alcoholic beverages during a portion of the day at a price that is reduced from the usual, customary, or established price.”

Finally, SB 188 would lower the statutory annual fee for any three-way license issued to a state park from $1,000 to $250.

The bill does not define what a “proper application” to the IACT for an alcohol permit looks like or consists of. It does define “department” as meaning the DNR and “permit” as meaning “a three-way permit.” In addition, it specifies the sufficiency of a single permit “even though more than one area within the state park constitutes the licensed premises of the permit.”

If passed, the bill would take effect July 1.

Merritt’s communications director referred questions about SB 188 to Merritt himself and told the Chesterton Tribune that Merritt would be available to speak about the legislation after deadline today.

Merritt serves as the Majority Caucus Chair and was first elected to the Senate in 1990. He chairs the Senate’s Utilities Committee, is the ranking member on the Commerce & Technology Committee, and has seats on a number of other committees, including Joint Rules, Public Policy, and Rules & Legislative Procedure.

In 2011 the Indiana Chamber of Commerce ranked Merritt as the “Most Pro-Job Indiana Senator.” In 2001 the National Republican Legislators Association named him Legislator of the Year.



Posted 1/7/2016




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