alcohol

With Haslam signature, legal Sunday booze sales can begin this weekend

Gov. Bill  Haslam today signed into law legislation that authorizes Sunday sales of liquor and wine, according to his communications department. The bill (HB1540) says that, insofar as liquor stores go, it takes effect “upon becoming law” – meaning when governor signs it.

Thus, Tennessee liquor stores could legally be open on this Sunday if the operators wish – or have time to prepare. But the bill also declares the effective date for grocery stores and supermarkets that sell wine only is Jan. 1, 2019. The first Sunday after that date is Jan. 6, 2019.

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House approves Sunday sales of liquor and wine, 55-35

Rep. Gerald McCormick (R-Chattnooga), center, speaks with Rep. Tim Wirgau (R-Buchanan), right, after a House vote on Sunday wine sales. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The House voted 55-35 Monday evening to authorize sale of bottled liquor and wine on Sundays, sending the bill to the Senate where a vote is scheduled Wednesday.

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Campus booze bill fails on House floor

A bill authorizing sale of alcoholic beverages for the first time on a Tennessee university campus during sports events failed on the House floor after critics declared it would set a bad precedent in a state where there’s already ample alcohol available through efforts of the liquor lobby.

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AG contradicts Jack Daniels’ bill — says whiskey barrels can be taxed

A legal opinion from the state attorney general’s office says the barrels used to age whiskey in Tennessee distilleries are subject to property taxes paid by businesses, despite a contention to the contrary in a bill pending before the General Assembly.

Producers of Jack Daniels whiskey have been pushing the bill (SB2076) since officials in Moore County laid plans to begin applying the tax to aging barrels, something not done in the past. The fiscal note prepared by legislative staff estimates that would mean about $2.8 million in new revenue for Tennessee’s smallest county.

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Lobbyists, legislators cut a deal on Sunday booze sales; House sub approves

Liquor stores would get to start selling their products on Sundays six months ahead of wine sales at other stores under legislation approved by the House State Government Subcommittee Thursday, reports the Times Free Press. That’s part of a deal on changes to state liquor laws that’s also intended to help liquor stores boost their profits otherwise.

The profits provision declares that liquor must be sold to retail customers at a price at least 20 percent higher than the wholesale cost to the store owner. State law already mandates a 20 percent markup on wine sales.

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TDEC partners with brewery producing ‘State Park Blonde Ale’

News release from Craftbeer.com, a publication of the Brewers Association

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 19, 2017) – Tennessee Brew Works has partnered with the Tennessee State Parks by creating a new Tennessee State Parks Beer, “State Park Blonde Ale,” with a portion of sales benefiting the mission of Tennessee State Parks.

The Tennessee State Parks and Tennessee Brew Works teams met almost two years ago. Sharing ideas over a common bond of craft beer with aims to better our land and community, they quickly became friends. Since then, they have been actively discussing projects and possible ways for the two organizations to optimize their synergies.

“Together we have found a way to make delicious Tennessee Brew Works craft beer and support Tennessee State Parks with our State Park Blonde Ale. We proudly support the mission of Tennessee State Parks as they preserve and protect our natural resources,” said Christian Spears, founder and owner, Tennessee Brew Works.

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Legislature OKs two 23-hour bars; bill authorizing Sunday booze sales dies quietly

The House has given final approval to legislation that would let two Nashville bars serve drinks 23 hours per day, an exception to general state law that prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m.

In contrast, a more ambitious change in state liquor laws – legalizing sale of wine and spirts on Sundays statewide – has died quietly in House and Senate committees.

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‘Open container’ bill dies despite Haslam’s support

Legislation prohibiting open containers of an alcoholic beverage in moving vehicles is dead again this year even though Gov. Bill Haslam made it part of his official legislative package for 2017.

Sen. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, who has pushed the idea for years, had hoped Haslam’s backing would make a difference, reports WJHL-TV, and is disappointed by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (sponsoring SB1219 for the administration) pulled the bill without a vote.

Norris said there’s not enough support among legislators for passage and debating the matter would be “a distraction” from the push for passage of the governor’s priority bill of the year — a package of tax legislation including increases in gas and diesel fuel taxes.

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Haslam appoints new ABC commissioner; Harwell and McNally may do same soon

West Tennessee pharmacist Richard Skiles has been appointed by Gov. Billl Haslam to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission, filling  vacancy left on the board by the resignation in January of Mary McDaniel of Memphis.

While Skiles is the newest member of the panel, he probably won’t have that status for long, as observed by Nashville Post Politics. A bill already passed by the Senate (SB556) was approved by the House State Government Committee on Wednesday. It adds two new members to the ABC – one appointed by the House speaker, the other by the Senate speaker – to join the three now appointed by the governor.

Similar legislation passed the Senate last year, but was killed in the State Government sub about the same time the ABC’s executive director abruptly quit the post – moves that Senate Republican Leader  Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro says were related.

The House sponsor this year is Republican Rep. Bill Sanderson who shares Kenton as a home town with new Commissioner Skiles and is also chairman of the full State Government Committee.

Note: For a lengthy review of the pending bill and some of the ABC politics involved, see a News Sentinel report HERE. An excerpt:

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Senate panel votes verticle driver’s license for those under 21

News release from Senate Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE — The Senate Transportation and Safety Committee approved legislation today (Wednesday) requiring all new driver’s licenses issued to persons under the age of 21 in Tennessee be printed in vertical format to help businesses easily identify those who cannot drink alcohol. Senate Bill 384 would give the driver the option to change their license to horizontal upon turning age 21 for the reduced cost of a duplicate license.

Presently, a tiny red bar along the side of the photo on the license indicates a person is under the age of 21.

“What this really addresses is underage drinking,” said Senator Massey. “Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths nationwide among underage youths each year. Servers have found the small red bar presently on Tennessee licenses is hard to read, especially in high volume hours when a clerk or waiter is very busy. This legislation will make it much quicker and easier to identify a person who is under the age of 21 to curb any unintentional mistakes that might otherwise occur.”

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