Wine could be on certain grocers’ shelves in Bradley County if a referendum gets enough “yes” votes in the coming Tennessee State General Elections set for Nov. 4; also, four Constitutional amendments are included on the ballot.
Fran Green, Bradley County Elections administrator, has contacted the Tennessee Elections Coordinator’s office to confirm that the needed 10 percent of Bradley County registered voters has been exceeded on local petitions. Reaching the 10 percent minimum will allow the referendum — which authorizes qualified retail food stores to sell wine — to be placed on the local ballot.
The deadline for petitions to add the referendum was Thursday. Green said 931 valid names were needed for the referendum to be placed on the Bradley County ballot; the local Election Commission office stopped counting once the number had easily exceeded 1,000 names, she explained.
Gov. Bill Haslam signed legislation in March that allows for counties to decide the issue for themselves. If the referendum passes the Bradley County vote, wine could be on store shelves by July 1, 2016. Lawmakers passed the referendum legislation with a 74 percent vote.
Sen. Bill Ketron Jr. (R), sponsored the legislation in January 2013. It was co-sponsored by Sens. James Bowling (R) and Douglas Henry (D).
Senate Bill 837 will allow retail food stores that apply for licensing to sell wine, but there are certain qualifications.
A store must have at least 1,200 square feet of business space, sell at least 20 percent of retail food and food ingredients for human consumption, as well as meeting licensing and fee requirements.
The four Tennessee Constitutional amendments in their entirety include:
No. 1 — Shall Article I, of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated section:
“Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion. The people retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother.”
No. 2 — Shall Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by deleting the first and second sentences and by substituting instead the following:
“Judges of the Supreme Court or any intermediate appellate court shall be appointed for a full term or to fill a vacancy by and at the discretion of the governor; shall be confirmed by the Legislature; and thereafter, shall be elected in a retention election by the qualified voters of the state. Confirmation by default occurs if the Legislature fails to reject an appointee within sixty calendar days of either the date of appointment, if made during the annual legislative session, or the convening date of the next annual legislative session, if made out of session. The Legislature is authorized to prescribe such provisions as may be necessary to carry out Sections two and three of this article.”
No. 3 — Shall Article II, Section 28 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by adding the following sentence at the end of the final substantive paragraph within the section:
“Notwithstanding the authority to tax privileges or any other authority set forth in this Constitution, the Legislature shall not levy, authorize or otherwise permit any state or local tax upon payroll or earned personal income or any state or local tax measured by payroll or earned personal income; however, nothing contained herein shall be construed as prohibiting any tax in effect on January 1, 2011, or adjustment of the rate of such tax.”
No. 4 — Shall Article XI, Section 5 of the Constitution of Tennessee be amended by deleting the following language:
“All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the General Assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) organization located in this state, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code or as may be amended from time to time”; and, by substituting instead the following language:
“All other forms of lottery not authorized herein are expressly prohibited unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of all members elected to each house of the general assembly for an annual event operated for the benefit of a 501(c)(3) or a 501(c)(19) organization, as defined by the 2000 United States Tax Code, located in this state.”
Early voting for the Nov. 4 elections, referendum and Constitutional Amendments begins Oct. 15 and ends Oct. 30.
Also, the governor’s race, U.S. Senate, and Third and Fourth District Congressional seats will be on the voting ballot for the Tennessee State General Election.