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NASHVILLE - Tennessee lawmakers say no to wine in grocery stores.
In what many are calling a surprise, the House Local Government Committee voted down the legislation.
All eyes were on a House committee room as one of the most talked about bills faces a key vote.
The legislation would allow local cities and counties to hold referendums allowing wine in grocery stores.
"That's the reason we brought this bill was because Tennessean's want it, and I think it's quite obvious from the outpouring of support that this bill should pass," says Jarron Springer with the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.
The outpouring of support came up empty.
After only a few moments in committee, the bill moved to a vote. By an 8-7 vote, the bill that had been gathering momentum is derailed.
Liquor stores owners began celebrating.
"We're very happy obviously. It's a little bit better day today than it was last week," says liquor store owner Chip Christianson.
Earlier in the day, Senate members were talking about amending the bill to make it more favorable to liquor stores.
Still, many liquor store owners were opposed to sharing wine sales with grocery stores.
"As I've said all along, it's a complicated matter and the legislature has studied it, and they made a wise decision," says Christianson.
The decision is also a defeat for House Speaker Beth Harwell.
"Well, I'm disappointed. I think the public made it clear that they wanted the opportunity to vote on this issue, but you know my commitment was to help it to get to the full committee, which it did, and in that full committee, they made the decision not to move forward," says House Speaker Beth Harwell, (R) Davidson County.
Harwell still believes wine in groceries will pass, but it's likely it won't be this year.
Representative Matthew Hill cast the deciding vote against wine in grocery stores.
He says he wanted to hear amendments on the bill, and he was not sure it was properly vetted.
For news updates follow John Dunn on twitter @WZTVJohnDunn
Tuesday, March 12 2013, 11:32 PM CDT
Tishomingo County voters OK beer, alcohol sales
May 22, 2013 23:38 GMT
IUKA, Miss. (AP) -- Tishomingo County is the latest Mississippi jurisdiction to legalize alcohol sales.
Voters approved the sale of liquor, wine and beer Tuesday, reports the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (http://bit.ly/13JCcix).
It wasn't clear referendums would pass until affidavit ballots were counted Wednesday.
With more than half Tishomingo County's voters casting ballots, legalizing alcohol passed by 42 votes, while legalizing beer and light wine passed by 73. The county borders Alabama and Tennessee.
Lawmakers legalized liquor at a proposed resort at the county's Bay Springs Lake in 2010, but it wasn't built.
Greene County voters legalized beer sales last year, while Corinth, New Albany and Senatobia have legalized alcohol sales under a 2012 law that allows cities to hold votes.
Mississippi has 13 remaining counties that allow no beer or alcohol sales.
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