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News briefs from around Tennessee at 1:58 a.m. EST
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - After years of bitter legislative fights over efforts to allow Tennessee grocery stores to sell wine, groups representing liquor stores and supermarkets are nearing an agreement that would give the measure its best ever chances of becoming law.
David McMahan, a lobbyist for the Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association, told The Associated Press that the two sides are “very, very close” on a deal that would allow cities and counties to vote on whether to allow wine sales in supermarkets. But the measure would maintain the current ban at convenience stores and big box retailers like Wal-Mart or Target.
“The real issue is whether or not that consumer deserves the convenience of being able to buy wine where they buy their groceries,” McMahan said. “And that’s what we’re interested in working on, and helping the Legislature find a solution to.”
Under current law, supermarkets and convenience stores can sell beer containing up to 6.5 percent alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can only be sold in liquor stores, which can’t sell anything beyond booze and lottery tickets.
The proposed law change would allow liquor stores to sell a variety of other items like cigarettes, beer and food.
McMahan said the liquor stores are in “in lockstep” with the state’s liquor wholesalers in seeking the compromise, which represents a vast departure from the fierce opposition the groups voiced to any changes proposed in the past.
ATLANTA (AP) - As the nation remembered and reflected Monday on the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., leaders and everyday Americans talked about how far the country has come in the past 50 years and how much more is to be done.
At Ebenezer Baptist Church in King’s hometown of Atlanta, civil rights leaders and members of King’s own family spoke about poverty, violence, health care and voting rights, all themes from the civil rights struggle that still resonate to this day.
The event in Atlanta featured music, songs and choirs and was one of many celebrations, marches, parades and community service projects held Monday across the nation to honor the slain civil rights leader. It was about 50 years ago today that King had just appeared on the cover of Time magazine as its Man of the Year, and the nation was on the cusp of passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. King would win the Nobel Peace Prize later that year.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said not many states could boast a native son that merited a national holiday. “But we Georgians can,” he told the audience.
Deal said this year he would work with state legislators to find a way to honor King at the Georgia Capitol, which drew a standing ovation. He did not give any specifics, but civil rights leaders have suggested a statue. The only current tribute to King at the state Capitol is a portrait inside the Statehouse.
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