As the Wine Ages (but not on TN grocery store shelves)…

Holiday season news notes on wine in grocery stores stuff:
The Bill is Back, With Hopes Higher
Richard Locker has a general re-hash of wine-in-grocery-stores legislation, scheduled to be considered by the Legislature for the seventh consecutive year in 2013 – not counting efforts made decades earlier, then abandoned for years. The article is themed on the proposition that chances for passage are better this year.
But that doesn’t mean passage is a certainty, or possibly even likely, in the 2013 legislature that opens Jan. 8. Both sides have powerful backers and agree it will be an uphill battle for approval.
…Tennessee is among 14 states that prohibit wine in grocery stores.
(Sponsoring Sen. Bill) Ketron, who has sponsored similar bills for several years, said the reasons why its chances are improved include the referendum clause, the non-election year session and the new backing of the legislature’s top two leaders.

Harwell Won’t Stack Committees
While Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has said he will appoint committees in the coming session with passage of the wine-in-groceries bill in mind, House Speaker Beth Harwell says that’s not in her plans.
Here’s a quote from the House speaker, responding via email to a News Sentinel inquiry on whether she would appoi9nt panels to help the cause:
“I’ve made it quite clear I believe it’s time for grocery stores to be allowed to sell wine–and I believe Tennesseans want that–but we want to do it in a way that creates an equal playing field for the mom and pop stores as well. However, I don’t develop my committees based on one particular issue. There are many things to consider when appointing members to committees–expertise, personal experiences, and previous service on the committee, among other things.”
The Liquor Store Owner’s Perspective
From a Bristol Herald Courier op-ed piece:
The potential for wine sales in Tennessee food, convenience and drugstore outlets has once again reared its dangerous head. This time around, the effort is spearheaded by Bristol-area lawmakers, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and Rep. Jon Lundberg, among several others in the Tennessee legislature.
Apparently, the fact that this measure was extensively studied over the past five years and voted down each time is meaningless to these gentlemen. In what might be described as a fit of sour grapes at those past decisions, both lawmakers have vowed passage of this bill during the upcoming session. In their words, they intend to stack the deck through selective and supportive appointments to the committees involved, without regard to public safety or what the majority of Tennessee residents might desire
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The Lundberg Perspective
From Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, also in a Bristol Herald Courier op-ed:
To say the liquor industry lobby has done a good job of bottling up the bill might be a bad pun, but unfortunately it’s an accurate one. Perhaps, though, this session will be different. There is reason to be optimistic.

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