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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ind. Gov't. - "Dunes pavilion alcohol plan advances to Senate"

The ILB has had many posts on the Dunes pavilion issues - see the list here, dating back to 2006.

Dan Carden reported late yesterday in the NWI Times:

The Senate Public Policy Committee endorsed House-approved legislation Wednesday that could allow alcohol sales at the Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion.

House Bill 1247, a proposal authorizing the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to obtain “state park” alcohol permits without being subject to local review and approval, was incorporated into House Bill 1386 and advanced to the full Senate.

The committee vote was 7-2. State Sen. Jim Arnold, D-LaPorte, supported the plan; state Sen. Rick Niemeyer, R-Lowell, voted no.

It’s not uncommon for multiple pieces of legislation, especially alcohol-related measures, to be merged into one proposal.

That maneuver generally gives lawmakers plenty of reasons to support the combined proposal, even if they object to some parts of it.

Altogether, seven bills (1247, 1274, 1118, 172, 294, 169 and 177) were packed into House Bill 1386, which almost certainly will go to a House-Senate conference committee if approved next week by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The potential for alcohol sales at a renovated Dunes pavilion has provoked outrage among some Region residents who fear alcohol will destroy the family-friendly beach atmosphere and lead to additional development in the state park.

Many also object to the Legislature seemingly doing an end-run around the local alcohol permit review board, which twice denied an application from developer Pavilion Partners.

Project supporters say alcohol is needed to ensure the renovated pavilion becomes a dining and wedding destination for tourists and residents alike.

A Feb. 23rd story by Kevin Nevers of the Chesterton Tribune begins:
A dozen private citizens -- and not all of them from Northwest Indiana --made the trip to Indianapolis on Monday to testify against HB 1247 before the Senate Public Policy Committee.

Joining them were representatives of the Hoosier Environmental Council, the Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Citizens Action Coalition.

Joining them too was State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, herself, who in 2012 sponsored the original bill permitting the sale of alcohol at the Pavilion. On Monday Tallian made her position on HB 1247 clear: it’s an “end-run,” she told her colleagues on the Public Policy Committee, a developer’s attempt to salvage victory from a “battle” he “lost,” and an “abuse of the process.”

Ten persons--none of them private citizens--spoke in favor of HB 1247, the Chesterton Tribune was told today: nine of them were lobbyists and the paid representatives of tourism, economic development, construction, and labor; the tenth was DNR Director Cameron Clark, to whom at least one senator put a pointed question or two.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 25, 2016 09:25 AM
Posted to Indiana Government