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House Panel Advances Supermarket Wine Bill

House Panel Advances Supermarket Wine Bill

CREATED Feb 5, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Legislation that would allow wine sold in Tennessee grocery and convenience stores sailed through a House budget sub-committee Wednesday.

The proposal, sponsored by Republican Representative Jon Lundberg of Bristol, would let voters decide about wine sales for their city and county. The issue could hit the ballot as early as November for cities and counties that already allow liquor by the drink

"Frankly, our focus has been on the House legislation. Again, we have talked and negotiated and come up with what we think is really quite fair and reasonable and I think everybody is very solidly behind what we've got in the House," said Representative Lundberg.

The bill now heads to the full House Finance and Ways committee next week.   

"This bill represents a compromise with all sides coming to the table. It's not perfect for us. It's not perfect for the other side, but I think that we've finally came to the table and we've agreed on things," said Kroger Spokeswoman Emily Ogden.

The legislation passed Wednesday is similar to a version that passed the Senate 23-8 last week. One of the few differences is that the Senate version would require convenience stores to have at least 1,200 square feet to qualify for a wine sales license, while the House version would set that limit at 2,000 square feet.   

 If the bill continues to get approval, the earliest supermarkets could begin stocking wine would be July 2016.