TN Hospitality Association urges veto of bill amended to require faster payments to liquor wholesalers

The Tennessee Hospitality and Tourism Association is urging Gov. Bill Haslam to veto a bill that was amended late in the legislative session to require businesses selling liquor-by-the-drink to pay wholesalers “upon delivery of the product,” repealing a current law that allows a 10-day delay.

The bill (HB2027) was sponsored by Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, and Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, and was generally discussed as allowing wineries to sell their products by the glass at their main place of business and at up to two satellite locations. Current law allows wineries to sell only a full bottle.

The amendment in question was sponsored by Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, and first approved on the House floor. The Senate concurred with the amendment on Wednesday, a day before adjournment of the 2014 session.

“The passage of this amendment will completely change the landscape of relations between wholesalers and retailers with a grand total of 15 seconds of debate on the House floor,” wrote Greg Adkins. President and CEO of the association in a memo to members urging they contact the governor’s office and urge a veto.

“Since the creation of the three tier system, restaurants and hotels have had a ten day window by which to pay invoices to the wholesalers. This ten day window is critical to the industry and especially to smaller operators with limited purchasing power. This bill huts small businesses that are the backbone of the TN economy,” the memo says.