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Councilwoman Sharon Tucker has been selected by the Allen County Democratic Party to replace late Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry

Happy hours return to Indiana beginning July 1 after governor signs bill lifting decades-old ban

Eric Holcomb stands in a bar, in front of shelves of liquor. Holcomb is a White man with white and gray hair and beard, wearing a white, button-down shirt with his "Next Level" logo above the chest pocket.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Gov. Eric Holcomb visited the Whistle Stop Inn in Indianapolis on Mar. 14, 2024 to sign into law a bill allowing such establishments to serve happy hours.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said “happy days are here again” as of July 1, when Indiana establishments can offer happy hours for the first time in decades.

Holcomb signed HEA 1086 into law Thursday.

Indiana law had banned happy hours since 1985, in a bid to help reduce drunk driving.

As he signed the bill lifting that ban into law at a local Indianapolis bar, Holcomb said the measure “empowers” businesses to serve responsibly.

“And that’s what they do here at the Whistle Stop Inn and all over the state of Indiana,” Holcomb said. “And so, this is in response to not only their concerns and advocacy, but also to the consumer.”

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The bill does maintain some restrictions. Beginning July 1, bars and restaurants can offer reduced prices for drinks for no more than four hours a day and 15 hours in a week. And those happy hours can’t be between 9 p.m and 3 a.m.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.