Public could have input on wine in supermarkets bill

A bill to allow Tennessee supermarkets to sell wine has been approved by the State House of Representatives.

If it's passed by the Senate, the bill will allow cities and counties that currently allow package stores or liquor by the drink sales to hold public referendums. These will decide whether or not wine can be sold outside of liquor stores.

Republican Representative Jon Lundberg of Bristol, says the Senate is expected to go along with minor changes in the House bill and send the measure for the Governor's signature.

Jason Booher, the Administrator of Elections for Sullivan County, expects the referendum to be on the November ballot.

We asked Booher what has to happen for the voters to take action in November.

"The Governor first has to sign the bill and act it into law," Booher told us. "Upon doing that, the process can begin. Citizen involvement petitions, obtained for the office for signatures, calls for a referendum in November elections."

Booher says if the county has to hold a special election, it would cost a minimum of $80,000.

Even if Sullivan County voters pass the referendum, the earliest wine could be sold would be July 2016.

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