Passage of wine in grocery stores bill approved in Senate State and Local Government Committee

The wine in grocery stores bill is again moving closer to approval in the Tennessee General Assembly.

The bill, that is being sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (Republican in Rutherford Co.), was reviewed during a Senate State and Local Government committee meeting on Tuesday and passed without discussion.

The bill will now move to the Finance Committee. If it moves to the floor for passage and it does pass, it will NOT allow for grocery stores to instantly sell wine. Senate Bill 0837 states, “As introduced, allows cities and counties to hold a referendum to authorize selling wine at retail food stores; creates permit to sell wine at retail food stores.”

If the bill continues to progress, it will take effect January 1, 2014. 

Source:

TN General Assembly
Senate Bill 0837
Follow this bill

Bill Summary (in detail):

Present law regulates the manufacturing and selling, at wholesale and at retail, of alcoholic beverages through the issuance of licenses by the alcohol beverage commission. This bill creates the "wine at retail food store license," which authorizes the sale of wine at retail food stores. Any wine sold by the holder of a wine at retail food store license may not exceed an alcoholic content of 18 percent by volume. Municipalities and counties may not limit the number of wine at retail food store licenses issued within their jurisdictions.

The license would be issued by the alcoholic beverage commission and would only be issued in a county or municipality that has authorized the sale of wine at a retail food store by referendum, pursuant to this bill, provided that the county or municipality has held and passed a referendum authorizing retail package stores or authorizing the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises prior to holding a referendum under this bill. Under this bill, the county election commission must include the question of whether to legalize the sale of wine at retail food stores on the ballot, if the commission receives the necessary petition requesting the referendum. This bill details when such a petition must be received by the commission.

Any individual applying for a wine at retail food store license must be at least 21 years of age and, generally, must not have been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude within the past 10 years. Each applicant for a license must pay to the commission a one-time, nonrefundable fee of $400 when the application is submitted for review. Additionally, a wine at retail food store license may not be issued until the applicant has paid to the commission the annual license fee of $1,100.

Every applicant must submit with the application a certificate signed by the appropriate county or municipal executive or legislative body. The certificate must state:

(1) That the applicant who is to be in actual charge of the business has not been convicted of a felony within a 10-year period immediately preceding the date of application and, if a corporation, that the executive officers or those in control have not been convicted of a felony within a 10-year period immediately preceding the date of the application and that in the official's opinion the applicant will not violate any of the provisions of this bill or present law regarding intoxicating liquors and local options; and
(2) That the applicant has secured a location for the business which complies with all zoning laws adopted by the local jurisdiction, as to the location of the business.

An applicant may seek review of a denial of a certificate by instituting an action in the chancery court having jurisdiction over the municipality or county within 60 days of the denial. A failure on the part of the issuing authority to grant or deny the certificate within 60 days of the written application would be deemed a granting of the certificate. 

The commission must create a responsible vendor training program for wine at retail food store licensees and licensed retailers similar to the responsible vendor training program established under present law regarding beer and alcoholic beverages containing less than 5 percent alcohol. Each wine at retail food store licensee and licensed retailer must participate in such program as a condition to having and maintaining such license. Each wine at retail food store licensee and retailer must pay an annual fee based on the number of certified clerks existing at the time the licensee applies to the commission for certification under the responsible vendor training program. The fee would be as follows:

(1) $150 if there are between 0 and 15 certified clerks;
(2) $200 if there are between 16 and 30 certified clerks;
(3) $250 if there are between 31 and 45 certified clerks; 
(4) $300 if there are between 46 and 60 certified clerks;
(5) $350 if there are between 61 and 100 certified clerks;
(6) $400 if there are between 101 and 150 certified clerks;
(7) $450 if there are between 151 and 200 certified clerks; and
(8) $50 for each additional 50 certified clerks over 200.

A retail food store licensed to sell wine under this bill may not sell, or give away, wine between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on weekdays, or between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and noon on Sundays. The commission may extend the hours of sale to coincide with any extended hours that apply to liquor-by-the-drink. The governing body of any municipality or county which has approved the sale of wine in retail food stores in a referendum may, at any time, opt out of any such extension of hours by passage of a resolution. 

A municipality may impose by ordinance an inspection fee upon wine at retail food store licensees located within such municipality.

This bill specifies that the present law provision regulating the location of a licensed retail or wholesale store, such as the requirement that the store be on ground level, would not apply to a retail food store under this bill.

This bill would take effect on January 1, 2014.

 

 

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