The Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee met this morning and discussed the wine in retail food stores legislation. Here’s what happened during the meeting:
• An amendment was introduced to remove Sunday hours for liquor stores from the legislation. The amendment passed.
• The committee then took a vote on the legislation, resulting in a tie. Five members voted YES, five members voted NO, and one member PASSED.
A note about amendments: Sen. Douglas Henry was one of the five members who voted against the bill in committee this morning. He had previously expressed his support for the referendum bill but is uncomfortable with liquor being available on Sunday. The committee members passed an amendment today that would have removed Sunday hours for liquor stores from the legislation. However, a fact about the legislative process is that amendments live separately from the bill. When the bill reaches the Senate floor for a vote by the full Senate, amendments will be brought up individually and voted on again. So the amendment allowing Sunday hours for liquor stores could very well come back and be made law. Sen. Henry said in committee that he supports wine sales in retail food stores. He does not support Sunday hours for liquor stores. That is why he voted no today. But overall, Sen. Henry supports giving Tennesseans the right to vote on where they purchase wine and has stated he will vote for passage of the bill if the amendment regarding Sunday sales is completely removed, which it can be.
A tie vote gives the wine referendum bill the opportunity to be heard again in committee. The legislation is scheduled to be heard again during the next Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 9.
Despite reports to the contrary, the referendum bill is still in play until the legislative session officially comes to a close. We’re not done fighting.
Please contact the members of the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee who voted YES this morning and thank them for looking out for Tennessee consumers.
• Sen. Steven Dickerson, email@example.com, (615) 741-6679
• Sen. Bill Ketron, firstname.lastname@example.org, (615) 741-6853 (Note: Sen. Ketron is the bill sponsor.)
• Sen. Randy McNally, email@example.com, (615) 741-6806
• Sen. Mark Norris, firstname.lastname@example.org, (615) 741-1967
• Sen. Bo Watson, email@example.com, (615) 741-3227
Please contact Sen. Ferrell Haile, who passed on voting, and ask him to reconsider his stance. Tell him that you want the right to vote on where wine is sold in your community.
• Sen. Ferrell Haile, firstname.lastname@example.org, (615) 741-1999
NO votes are as follows:
• Sen. Lowe Finney
• Sen. Douglas Henry
• Sen. Joey Hensley
• Sen. Jim Kyle
• Sen. Doug Overbey
We’ll keep you posted on further developments. Thanks for your support.