Senate OKs supermarket wine bill, headed to governor's office
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Tennessee Senate approved the changes made by its House counterparts on the bill to allow wine to be sold outside of Tennessee liquor stores, sending the approved measure to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature.
The Senate approved the changes to the bill by a vote of 22-5 during its session on Monday night.
The Senate passed its version of the bill 23-8 in January. The House version, which had some changes, overwhelmingly passed 71-15 last month.
"After years of hard work, I'm proud to see this issue finally settled in the legislature," said Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey in a prepared statement. "This bill is a solid compromise that allows for the expansion of consumer choice while protecting small businesses that took risks and invested capital under the old system. This bill puts the issue where it belongs: in the hands of the people of Tennessee."
Lawmakers worked out the slight differences in the bills, such as licensing fees.
Both measures would grant authority to cities and counties that currently have package stores or liquor-by-the-drink sales to hold referendums on whether to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores.
The proposals also allow for local votes to take place as early as this fall, but would not allow supermarket wine sales until at least July 2016.
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