Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 13, 2014

Wine in stores clears Senate

By Rep. Cameron Sexton
Sun contributor

CROSSVILLE — On Thursday, SB837, passed the Senate Chamber with a vote of 23 for and 8 against.

There have been many changes to the bill as it progressed through the committee system.

The overall theme of a public referendum remained intact but with adoption of amendment 9 to SB837 there are a lot of additional details.

Any retail store that derives at least 20 percent of its taxable sales from the retail sale of food or food ingredients for human consumption and has a retail floor space of at least 1,200 square feet are eligible to sell wine. Which means grocery stores and most convenient stores will qualify.

However in order to qualify the city or county must have either package stores and/or liquor by drink passed before a public referendum can be set for wine in stores.

Also, if the city, not the county, has package stores or liquor by the drink then only stores within the city limits can sell wine. Which would be the case here locally.

The amendment also sets a minimum price point called cost of doing business by the retailer at 20 percent of the basic cost of wine to the retailer. So every business must sell wine 20 percent above their cost.

Amendments 9 would allow package stores to sell numerous new items like beer, tobacco and accessories. Also, the package stores would not have to apply for a beer license. Their liquor license would be sufficient to sell beer.

Liquor distributors would be allowed to open new businesses in counties with a population over 120,000 whereas now they can only be in cities with a population of over 100,000. In contrast, beer distributors are not held to the same population requirement.

There may be many more changes before a House vote. Time will tell.

Administration files legislation to make Sudafed prescription

HB1574 was filed by the administration this week, which would require prescriptions for Sudafed in certain circumstances. Under the proposed legislation anyone will be eligible for a 10-day supply each month.

If a supply greater than 10-day but less than 20-day is needed then the pharmacist would be able to sell after consultation with the patient. A prescription by a physician would be needed to purchase more than a 20-day supply.

As this legislation moves forward there will be much debate about the pros and cons of requiring a prescription.