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Tenn. lawmakers to decide fate of supermarket wine

By Shelby Morris, Producer, smorris@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 25 2013 02:54:45 AM CST
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Tennessee lawmakers are poised to decide this week whether a proposal to allow supermarket wine sales moves ahead or withers on the vine.

The bill to overhaul the current system that prevents shoppers from buying wine alongside groceries faces votes in both House and Senate committees this week, where as little as a single vote could decide the bill's fate after months of lobbying.

"It could fall either way at this point," said Republican Sen. Ken Yager of Harriman, chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee.

Yager's committee meets Monday to hear from both sides of the bill, which seeks to allow cities and counties to hold referendums on whether to do away with liquor stores' exclusive license to sell wine. The nine-member panel is scheduled to vote the following day.

Yager, who opposes of the bill on the basis that the change would hurt existing package stores in his district, said the measure could come down to a 5-4 vote.

"There is a little more intensity this year, because the proponents of the bill feel really encouraged and they're pumped up," Yager said. "I'm just not willing to vote for something that would hurt local business."