Chesterton Tribune



SB188 in limbo, Not withdrawn but to go unheard by committee

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SB 188--which would force the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission to issue a three-way permit to the Department of Natural Resources on behalf of a state park, without local ABC oversight--will not be heard in this session of the Indiana General Assembly.

After deadline on Friday, a spokesperson for the bill’s author, State Sen. James Merritt, R-31st, told the Chesterton Tribune that the Public Policy Committee, to which the bill has been assigned, will not hear it.

That should not be interpreted to mean, though, that Merritt has withdrawn the bill. “It’s not being withdrawn,” the spokesperson made a point of emphasizing. “It’s just not being heard. It’s kind of in limbo. It’s not going to be withdrawn but it’s not going to be heard.”

Merritt did not further clarify the bill’s status, the spokesperson indicated, nor did he say why it will go unheard by the Public Policy Committee.

All that can be said with certainty, in other words, is that SB 188--in its present form, as introduced by Merritt, as currently numbered, and as assigned to the Public Policy Committee--won’t become law during this legislative session because it won't get a committee hearing.

Merritt--who represents portions of Marion and Hamilton counties--told the Tribune a week ago that his intent in authoring SB 188 was to make Fort Harrison State Park, with its Garrison Restaurant and Conference Center and the Fort Golf Course, more competitive with the restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment options in his district. The bill does not specify Fort Harrison SP, however, but instead refers generally to “one or more state parks.”

HB 1247, meanwhile, is apparently still in play. This bill would exempt any alcohol retailer’s permit sought for “economic development purposes” and pending before the ATC on or after Jan. 1 from local ABC proceedings. It would also nullify the statutory reasons for denying such a permit in a residential district--that it would “impair the enjoyment of residents” or be a “public nuisance”--as well as eliminate the “good moral character” requirement for a beer retailer and repeal the “high and fine reputation” requirement for a liquor retailer.

HB 1247 was co-authored by State Reps. Sean Eberhart, R-57th, who represents Shelby County and much of Bartholomew County, southeast of Indianapolis; and Tom Dermody, R-20th, who represents portions of LaPorte and Starke counties.

Under HB 1247 any new three-way application submitted by Pavilion Partners LLC would evidently go directly to the ATC, bypassing the local ABC.



Posted 1/18/2016




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