Lawmaker may switch vote on wine in grocery stores bill

Lawmaker may switch vote on wine in grocery stores bill

Posted:
"Well, we haven't had an opportunity to speak with Speaker Harwell yet. We've got a meeting scheduled I think a little later this week to talk with her, so we'll be speaking with her," said Rep. Matthew Hill. "Well, we haven't had an opportunity to speak with Speaker Harwell yet. We've got a meeting scheduled I think a little later this week to talk with her, so we'll be speaking with her," said Rep. Matthew Hill.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

NASHVILLE (WATE) - The wine in grocery store bill may not be dead despite failing to get approval from a House committee last week.

The measure, designed to let individual communities vote on the issue, failed by a one-vote margin after Rep. Matthew Hill, who initially voted for the bill, later voted against it.

The only way the wine in grocery stores bill could see new life this session is if at least one of the eight legislators who voted against it last week changes their mind.

House Local Government Committee Chair Matthew Hill isn't saying for sure at this point if he will change his no vote to a yes, but he isn't ruling out that possibility, either.

"Well, we haven't had an opportunity to speak with Speaker Harwell yet. We've got a meeting scheduled I think a little later this week to talk with her, so we'll be speaking with her," said Rep. Hill.

Rep. Hill says his change of heart during the second vote was because there wasn't enough debate on the bill and not enough discussion on the proposed amendments.

Some of the other legislators who voted against the bill say they're sticking to their decision and have no plans to reverse their vote.

"I was 'no' in subcommittee, I was 'no' in that committee. I have seen nothing at this time that would change my vote on that," Rep. Dale Carr said.

Rep. Sherry Jones is on the House Local Government Committee but wasn't present for the vote. Instead, she says she was taking part in a hearing for the Department of Children Services in a nearby room.

"I can't be in two places at the same time. I did as much as I could do to get back and forth to Local Government but I was still in another committee," said Rep. Jones.

Jones' absence left some to question whether her missing vote caused the bill to fail.

Jones says she wasn't committed to either side at the time and doesn't know how she would have voted. Even now, she says she's undecided.

Jones says her decision was about priorities and wasn't an attempt to block the bill from passing or to help the opponents try and kill it this session.

"All of this big issue swirling around about what I was going to do and me stepping out, that's crap," Rep. Jones said.

A changed voted would need to happen within the next couple of weeks in order to save the wine in grocery stores bill this session.

On Tuesday morning, the Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee delayed a vote on the bill until next week.

But even if the Senate passes it all the way through its committees, it will still need to be passed in the House first to become law this session.

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