Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) spoke exclusively to The Examiner Friday and sought to correct what he believes are constituent misconceptions about House Bill 610, which failed in the House Local Government Committee this past Tuesday. If passed, the legislation would allow for counties to hold a referendum on whether or not wine could be sold in grocery stores in that county.
"Folks are calling my office saying 'Jeremy, you voted for wine in grocery stores.' Jeremy did not vote for wine in grocery stores, Jeremy voted to allow individual Tennessee counties to hold referendums to determine whether they were going to have wine in grocery stores. This bill leaves the matter up to the local voters, and that is where I think something like this needs to be decided, not in Nashville," Faison said.
"I think we need to face a certain reality, and that is that the sale of wine is legal in Tennessee, and it is going to continue to be legal, and that isn't going to change," Faison told The Examiner, "so we can decide that we are going to run a State-supported monopoly from Nashville and limit the choices of consumers and citizens, or we can put the choices in the hands of the citizens and in the hands of consumers and allow counties to decide whether they are going to allow the sale of wine in grocery stores or not. If citizens really don't want wine in grocery stores, they won't vote for it. I don't think it is my place to decide that for them when they are perfectly capable of deciding the matter for themselves."
Representative Faison also warned that it is premature to presume that the so-called "wine in grocery stores" bill is dead just because the legislation failed by one vote in the House Local Government Committee, since the Senate version of the bill is still alive as of today. "Everyone in the media is saying 'the bill is dead,' but nothing is dead around here until the Legislature adjourns."