The details on wine in grocery stores

There was a big unveiling today of the wine in grocery stores legislation. Supporters of the issue packed a committee room, with many of the big grocery store operators in Tennessee present. The bill will be sponsored as usual by Rep. Jon Lundberg and Sen. Bill Ketron.

So here are the details of the bill:

-The bill will allow municipalities to hold referendums on wine in grocery stores, provided those places allow either liquor by the drink, package liquor stores or both.
-This means 170 municipalities would be currently eligible to hold votes.
-If it passes, it would be effective on January 1, 2014. After that municipalities could hold a referendum.
-In order to get it on the ballot, supporters must gather enough signatures on a petition to equal 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the last gubernatorial election. Going by Davidson County numbers for the 2010 gubernatorial election, that would be 15,582 signatures.
-The bill also requires liquor stores to participate in mandatory carding, which grocery stores are already required to do.
-Grocery stores will also have to participate in the ABC’s responsible vendor training.
-Wine would have to have an alcohol content of 18 percent or less in order to be sold at grocery stores.

So does it have a chance? Unclear.

I will say this, the sponsors are about as optimistic as I’ve ever seen them. The Senate State and Local Government Committee appears favorable. I did count a couple of no votes in the House committee, however Lundberg thinks the votes are there. It also appears opponents of the issue have become more vocal this year, which might indicate a greater concern about the bill’s chances of passing. However, I will believe it when I see it. Truthfully, I might not be around to see its fate this year though, because I’m pretty pregnant right now.

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