Time to vote! Click on any ad to access categories and vote for your favorite businesses to be the Readers' Choice selections.

June 2012
27 28 29 30 31 01 02

Click here to submit an event.

Haslam signs supermarket wine bill into law

By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Folks waiting for the neighborhood grocery store to stock their favorite merlot or chardonnay may have to wait a little longer even though Gov. Bill Haslam has signed a law to allow supermarket wine sales in Tennessee.

The legislation signed Thursday grants authority to cities and counties that have package stores or liquor-by-the-drink sales to hold referendums on whether to allow wine sales in supermarkets. Even so, the earliest wine can be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores is the summer of 2016 - or a year later if they are located near an existing liquor store.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey told reporters Thursday that lawmakers may consider moving the date up.

"I predict that something may happen on that," said the Blountville Republican. "I just think that people won't understand why the grocery stores agreed to a year and a half delay."

The delay was to give liquor stores time to prepare for the competition.

However, Mitchell McDannald of Nashville said he hopes he can buy the wine sooner. He likes the wine sold in Trader Joe's stores and currently drives nearly four hours to Atlanta to get cases of it because he can't get it at any of the Trader Joe's stores in Tennessee.

"I just like cheap wine," said the 27-year-old, who said that under the new law, "I'll be able to get the wine that I like" in Tennessee.

Haslam was joined Thursday by the measure's sponsors, as well as the Senate and House speakers, who helped the passage of the legislation by bringing different parties to the table to discuss it.

"I commend my legislators for their hard work," said House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville. "Together we all worked to make this a success today."

While the concept of supermarket wine sales has broad public support according to various polls, the measure had failed in several consecutive legislative sessions amid opposition from liquor wholesalers and package store owners.

While Tennessee is also a state with strong religious and conservative values, Vanderbilt University political science professor Bruce Oppenheimer said the delay to pass the measure was more about disagreements among the parties involved.

"I think there were people with money interests on both sides who had a stake in this game," he said. "It's the grocery stores against the people who run liquor stores."

Nevertheless, Sen. Bill Ketron, one of the measure's main sponsors, called the signing a historic event in Tennessee.

"There's an old saying that patience is a virtue," said the Murfreesboro Republican. "I can honestly say that I have acquired that virtue over the last seven years."

The measure also allows liquor stores to begin selling items other than booze.

Currently, supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can be sold only in package stores, which can't sell anything beyond booze and lottery tickets.

Haslam's stance on the issue has warmed since the 2010 governor's race, when he expressed reservations about the legislation, which would directly affect the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain owned by the Haslam family.

He remained neutral on the issue while it was before lawmakers, but had pledged not to block its enactment once it passed.

"I've always said that I would do whatever the will of the Legislature is on this thing; and if they passed it that I would sign it," he told reporters after Thursday's event.

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Your comment has been submitted for approval
captcha 05dfe7ad1947430680966fb9c8d1abb9
Top Classifieds
  • Bedroom Suites New in Boxes. 6pc. sle ... Details
  • PILLOW TOPmattress sets NEW in pl ... Details
  • SAWMILLS from only $4397 - MAKE & ... Details
  • 8 ft. Wheel Disk 270-851-7882 or 270 ... Details
  • Details
  • Beautifully updated 2bdr, 1.5ba condo ... Details
  • FAIRHURST BUILDING Professional Offic ... Details
  • SEEING is believing! Don't buy p ... Details
  • 3 bdrm. 3 bath, 2450 sq. ft. in Weste ... Details
  • 2010 Mercury Mariner SUV, 4 cyl., Pre ... Details

Most Popular
  1. Little demand, big deals
  2. Don and Bettie Edwards
  3. When school's out, campuses play host to summer programs
  1. Calloway's Woods wins state wrestling title
  2. Adams reflects on changes at McCracken jail
  3. Study: Surgeons rude to patients may pose problem in OR
  1. Little demand, big deals
  2. When school's out, campuses play host to summer programs
  3. LBL Advisory Board meeting set March 2

Check out these recently discussed stories and voice your opinion...