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Wine Bill Takes a Big Step Forward -- Sky Arnold

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -Inside one of the Tennessee Legislature's smaller meeting rooms, State Representatives made a big vote Tuesday night.

That vote in the State Government Committee for the first time advanced a Wine in Grocery Stores bill out of a House committee.

Liquor Store Owner Bard Quillman is among those who didn't want to see it happen.

"It's gonna be a big change," said Quillman. "We still don't believe wine should be in grocery stores."

The vote was the second House committee to pass a wine bill Tuesday.

The House Local Government Committee approved one part of the wine bill earlier Tuesday with the support of Representative Matthew Hill who helped kill the wine bill last year.

A similar wine bill will be voted on in the full Senate on Thursday.

"The difference is both sides have come together come to the table to find that compromise," said Kroger spokesperson Melissa Eads.

Under that deal, liquor stores would get the right to sell beer this July and other items currently prohibited.

Each community would have to vote to allow wine in grocery stores.

If approved, grocery stores could start selling wine in July 2016 assuming they're more than 500 feet from an existing liquor store.

Any closer than that and they'll need the liquor store's permission or have to wait until July 2017 to sell wine.

In the meantime, the liquor store in question would be unable to sell beer.

Bill sponsor Representative Ryan Haynes says the delays are needed to give liquor stores a chance to be competitive.

"There are small businesses that have signed leases that built their business model around the laws we've put in place and it's not fair to change them instantly," said Haynes.