Gov Neutral on Wine In Supermarkets…

Gov. Bill Haslam says he will sign a proposal to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets into law if it is passed by lawmakers this year, according to WPLN.
The Republican governor told reporters Thursday that he’s neutral on the measure, but that he won’t stand in the way of it becoming law. Legislation was filed Thursday that would allow Tennesseans to vote on whether to allow supermarkets and convenience stores to sell wine.
State Sen. Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro and fellow Republican Rep. Jon Lundberg of Bristol on Thursday introduced their bill to end the exclusive right of liquor stores to sell wine in Tennessee. Grocery store sales would be limited to wine with an alcohol content of no more than 18 percent. The measure would put the option of whether to allow wider wine sales to voters in local cities and counties.
The bill, if passed, would give municipalities in those communities that currently allow retail package stores, liquor-by-the-drink establishments or both to hold a referendum on the sale of wine in retail food stores during the next general election. The authorization law would take effect on Jan. 1, 2014 and would allow a referendum to be held after that date.
…A petition with 10 percent of the county’s registered voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election would have to be submitted to the county election commission where the referendum is to be held.
Thirty-six states, including six of Tennessee’s border states, allow the sale of wine in retail food stores. Kentucky will soon join the list due to a recent federal court ruling which deemed its liquor laws unconstitutional.
The Republican House and Senate speakers support the change.
Opponents argue that the change is “is a ploy by out-of-state corporations to circumvent representative government”. Leaders from the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association (TWSRA) said the legislation would unfairly disrupt the existing business rules that liquor store owners invested under.

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