Tennessee State Rep. Ryan Haynes, R-Knoxville, outlined the main points of a measure that apparently has backing from key players in the years-long fight over the effort to allow retail sales of wine in places besides liquor stores.
The measure, House Bill 47, is being considered before the House State Government Committee. Another measure that stipulates rules for local governments to hold referendums giving voters power to approve expanded wine-sales in their communities is scheduled for discussion and a possible vote in the House Local Government Committee later today.
The amendment, said the sponsor, Haynes, allows “retail food stores” to sell wine — including “grocery stores, convenience stores and big-box retail stores” that are 2,000 square-feet or
under more and 20 percent of their sales are food.
Cities and counties would not be able to limit the number of retail food-store wine-selling licenses, said Haynes, who last year opposed changing state law to permit wine-sales in grocery stores.
Haynes noted that the bill does not allow for Sunday sales of wine.
Kent Williams, an independent from Carter County who formerly serves as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives and long a wine-in-groceries opponent, expresses his opposition to the bill’s language. He also said the measure didn’t travel through the proper legislative channels.
“I think we were deceived,” said Williams. His attempt to reroute the bill back to a subcommittee failed.
The State Government Committee is scheduled to reconvene to vote on HB47 this afternoon.