Contentious Indiana Dunes bill headed to Mike Pence for signature

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A measure putting an embattled privatization deal back on track by allowing a politically connected developer to sell alcohol at a proposed restaurant, bar and banquet center at Indiana Dunes State Park has been approved by the Legislature.

The Indiana House voted 63-30 Monday to send the bill to Gov. Mike Pence’s desk.

The measure would allow Valparaiso developer Chuck Williams to sell alcohol at the planned beachfront development. It would circumvent a local board and the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, which both denied Williams a permit.

Opponents point to favorable lease terms, which grant Williams control of the scenic property for decades in exchange for $18,000 in yearly rent and 2 percent of sales.

A Pence spokeswoman has said the governor will give the measure “careful consideration.”

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