Wine in grocery stores about to pass Legislature

Wine in grocery stores about to pass Legislature (Image 1)

While state workers were give the day off because of icy conditions, not so for state lawmakers who plan to convene late Monday afternoon.

On tap will be one of the state's lingering issues which is up for what could be a final legislative vote after years of debate.

The odyssey of the so-called “wine in groceries” bill is on the Senate calendar after the House passed its version last month.

The Senate version of the bill passed in January.

Most expect the Senate to “concur” with the House action, which means the bill would then be on the way to Governor Bill Haslam's desk for his expected signature.

The measure is a sweeping change of the state's liquor and beer laws which will essentially allow for those items to be sold in places where they currently are not.

While allowing for the sales of wine in grocery and convenience stores, the bill, as written, will allow liquor stores to soon start selling beer and other items from which they are currently prohibited.

A major breakthrough in the long battle over the bill came last session when lawmakers started putting language in the proposal that would allow each municipality, city or county government, to vote on whether or not it would allow the change.

Those referendums could be held as early as later this year, but the bill would not allow grocery store wine sales until July of 2016.

Reporter Chris Bundgaard will have the latest coming up at 5 and 6 p.m.

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