Monday, March 16, 2009

Wine Bill Falls Flat

The Tennessean ran an informal poll of lawmakers on the proposal to allow wine in grocery stores, and based on the data from that poll, the paper predicts that the wine bill will not pass the General Assembly this session. Among those polled, my own Senator, Mike Faulk, is listed as being against the bill.

In talking to Faulk today, he says his position is much more nuanced. "They [the Associated Press] came around to our offices and asked how we would vote on the wine bill if we were voting today, and I answered honestly with a no," Faulk told me. Senator Faulk said that he's not against wine in grocery stores, but wants a bill with the tightest possible protections against teens being able to purchase wine in grocery stores. Essentially, Faulk wants grocery store clerks who sell wine to have the same licensure requirements that liquor store clerks who sell it have.

In addition, Mike Faulk says that he favors local control over the issue, saying that if a county wants to allow wine to be sold in grocery outlets, they ought to be allowed to legalize that, while counties that do not wish to allow such sales should be allowed to enact those regulations. Senator Faulk has floated a bill to that effect.

Although I do not agree with Faulk's stance on the current wine bill, I do agree with his ideas about local control. Further, it is clear that The Tennessean likely isn't accurately portraying members' feelings on the legislation-but the way for wine in grocery stores appears stalled for the year once again.



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