Grocery store wine bill clears committee by one vote

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A proposal to allow wine to be sold in Tennessee supermarkets and convenience stores has scored its first legislative victory after years of frustration.

The Senate State and Local Government Committee on Tuesday voted 5-4 to advance the bill. The measure would allow cities and counties to hold referendums next year to decide whether to expand wine sales beyond the state's 600 licensed liquor stores.

The proposal has the support of two of the heaviest hitters in the Legislature in Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville and House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville. Statewide public opinion polls have shown strong support for supermarket wine sales.

The measure would have to be approved by the Senate Finance Committee before heading for a full floor vote.


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