The debate over who can sell alcohol and where dates back to liquor laws hashed out at the end of prohibition, but the latest controversy in the state Legislature is over expanding wine sales to grocery stores. Tennessee is in the minority on this issue. Thirty-six states allow wine in food stores. Polls show consumers favor the convenience of picking up a bottle of wine and the ingredients for dinner all in one stop, and this year grocery store companies have swarmed the state Capitol to lobby for a bill that would allow them to do just that.
Republican-controlled legislatures in several states are finding it difficult to stick to one of their mantras: the government closest to the people governs best. In Tennessee, where the GOP now holds a supermajority, the state is attempting to wrest control from cities and towns on a variety of issues ranging from charter schools to property rights.
A plan to overhaul the way workers’ compensation claims are handled will be debated in the Tennessee General Assembly this week. Under the current system, if there is a dispute between an employer and an employee over how much money is owed, the disagreement is usually settled by a judge.
“Only Tennessee and Alabama involve the courts like this,” said Blake Farmer who covers the state Capitol for WPLN.
The state could soon decide which charter schools can open up in Memphis and Nashville. A proposed bill in the Tennessee General Assembly aims to wrest control of that process away from the school boards in the state’s two largest cities.
In its first test, a House subcommittee passed the bill Tuesday, but there was one Republican lawmaker who voted no. Representative John Forgety is a retired educator from Athens.