Alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair are one step from being a reality after a bill to repeal the ban on alcoholic beverages during the event passed the Indiana House of Representatives on Tuesday.
The bill, authored by Sen. James Merritt, R- Indianapolis, seeks to end a nearly 70-year-old ban on beer and alcohol sales at the state fair.
The legislation is now headed to Gov. Mike Pence to be signed or vetoed.
Indiana is currently the only state in the nation to completely ban alcohol from their State Fair. North Carolina, which has limited alcohol sales at their state’s fair, is the closest state to Indiana in terms of restrictions of fair alcohol sales.
The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, spoke to encourage its passage.
“What the state fair proposes to do is have a confined area where you would have to be 21 to enter,” Torr said. “So it’s not going to be people carrying beers all over the state fair grounds. It’s going to be a confined area, like a beer garden, with controlled access.
“Nobody is going to be able to take anything out of there,” Torr said. “It’s their intention to highlight Indiana brewed beer and wine from Indiana wineries.”
Rep. David Ober, R-Albion, said a constituent was concerned about whether the bill could extend alcohol sales to county fairs. But Torr said the it only applies to the Indiana State Fair.
The bill passed 75-20.
Jacob Rund is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College Journalism students.