- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 3, 2014

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) - An East Tennessee election official says petitions seeking a local vote on supermarket wine sales have begun circulating.

Sullivan County Administrator of Elections Jason Booher told the Bristol Herald Courier (https://bit.ly/1ktm3KG) that petitioners have until Aug. 21 to get enough signatures in Bristol and Kingsport.

He says 603 valid signatures are needed in Bristol while Kingsport needs 1,220. That’s 10 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial election.

Wine sales are currently limited to state-approved liquor stores, but lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that would allow supermarket sales if voters in a municipality approve a ballot measure.

State Rep. Jon Lundberg, R-Bristol, was a sponsor of the bill. He noted that the legislation would have a big effect on East Tennessee because it is so close to Virginia, where people can purchase wine in grocery stores.

“We see it firsthand with people going across the state line,” Lundberg said.

The effort is part of an initiative by the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association to hold petition drives across the state.

“Retail food stores across the state are eager to help eligible communities put the wine referendum on the November ballot,” Food City CEO Steve Smith said in a statement.


Information from: Bristol Herald Courier, https://www.bristolnews.com

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