Tennesseans Respond To Kentucky Judge’s Ruling On Wine In Grocery Stores
LOUISVILLE, KY.- Wine in grocery store advocates got a big boost this week, after a federal judge ruled that Kentucky's law was unconstitutional.
Judge John Heyburn ruled the law violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, and said that grocery stores and gas stations have been harmed by their inability to sell wine or liquor. The ruling is not final the judge wants a meeting with the parties involved in the lawsuit.
The Tennessee law, though different from Kentucky's, has been debated year-in and year-out at the Capitol. Advocates say the Kentucky ruling strengthens their position.
"The court ruling in Kentucky should serve as a wake-up call to legislators that these out of date state laws need to change. It reflects the fact that we need laws based on the free market and competition. The issue of selling wine in food stores, as the vast majority of states already do, is about consumer demand and we will continue our efforts to change the law in Tennessee through the Red White and Food campaign," said Jarron B. Springer President of the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association.
Opponents, led by the Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, say the ruling has no bearing on Tennessee.
"The ruling in Kentucky yesterday has no bearing on Tennessee. Our laws regulating alcohol are much better defined, and don't lead to the type of confusion they have seen in Kentucky. Unlike Kentucky, Tennessee clearly states that high-proof alcohol can only be sold in a store that doesn't sell any other products. Our General Assembly has carefully considered and crafted a distribution system that protects our citizens, especially children, and regulates a potentially dangerous product. It should not be weakened,' said Chip Christianson with the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailer Association.