To be perfectly honest, given the juncture of RFRA and the NCAA Final Four, the prospect of an April Fool’s Day spent in the state capital of Indianapolis sounds a bit too much like the plot of a bizarre, parallel-world sequel to Groundhog Day.
But there I’ll be, leaving shortly, presumably to pop into a legislative session about HB 1311 (this year’s “beer bill”), and then to attend a regular meeting of the Brewers of Indiana Guild’s board, upon which I sit as a director.
Yay — no passenger rail transport to Indy! It sounds almost like an issue of interest to legislators, if they can be bothered to refrain from damaging Indiana business.
In case you have not seen it, here’s the link to my weekly beer column, as published on Monday. It’s what I expect to be doing today.
You won’t need to look far amid my scribblings to locate frequent praise for the Indiana “craft” brewing scene. I’m proud of my state when it comes to better beer.
In five years since 2010, we’ve come close to tripling the number of Hoosier breweries, and while it seems a new establishment opens in Indianapolis every week, smaller communities from Aurora to Martinsville to Needmore are being represented, too. It’s overdue, and welcomed.
This Wednesday, I’ll make the drive up I-65 to Indianapolis for a regular board meeting of the Brewers of Indiana Guild (BIG). It isn’t an ordinary week in the state capital. For one, college basketball’s Final Four will be staged there beginning on Saturday, with all attendant sports-driven hoopla. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that just last week, my state made international headlines with a controversial new law, overwhelmingly approved by both legislative bodies and promptly signed by Governor Mike Pence. Because of SB/HB 101, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), there are mounting calls to boycott Indiana.
Some, including Keith Olbermann, Charles Barkley and Dave Zirin, have gone so far as to urge the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, to move the Final Four elsewhere in protest. This is unlikely, but the NCAA has indicated its displeasure, meaning Indiana might be denied future athletic spectacles. That’s bad for all our bottom lines, beer or not.