Can we really expect a different outcome?

Wine in grocery stores. That, combined with “Don’t Say Gay”, are the two issues I’ve covered every year since I started covering the Tennessee legislature.

I think I’ve documented in the past how it goes. Every year, people say it’s going to be different. Every year, I end up in the same committee listening to the same people making the same arguments. I always leave feeling I was duped, and that I should be smarter than that.

So. Is this year going to be any different? I’ll believe it when I see it.

There are reasons for the pro-wine in grocery stores crowd to hope. Both Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell have come out in support of the issue. In fact, Ramsey has made it known that he plans to try to stack the committees to ensure it at least gets a full Senate vote. The grocery stores have launched a huge public awareness campaign, and polls show overwhelming support for the issue. In fact, a Vanderbilt political scientist said earlier this year that no matter how pollsters frame the question, the level of the support remains the same.

Sounds like a breeze, right?

Wrong.

The liquor store owners have had a lot of sway with lawmakers over the past few years. They are still extremely confident, and they have to know they have the votes to back that confidence up. I don’t feel like there are enough new faces this year to cause the political landscape on this issue to change. Maybe I’m wrong. There are a lot of people in Tennessee that hope I am.

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