published Monday, March 4th, 2013

Supermarket wine opponents in Tennessee contribute heavily

Joe Gamble, with Athens Distributing Company, delivers products to Arthur's Wine and Liquor in Memphis, Tenn. Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A proposal to allow wine to be sold in Tennessee supermarkets and convenience stores scored its first legislative victory on Tuesday after years of frustration. The Senate State and Local Government Committee voted 5-4 to advance the bill that would allow cities and counties to hold referendums next year to decide whether to expand wine sales beyond the state's nearly 600 licensed liquor stores. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Mike Brown)
Joe Gamble, with Athens Distributing Company, delivers products to Arthur's Wine and Liquor in Memphis, Tenn. Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. A proposal to allow wine to be sold in Tennessee supermarkets and convenience stores scored its first legislative victory on Tuesday after years of frustration. The Senate State and Local Government Committee voted 5-4 to advance the bill that would allow cities and counties to hold referendums next year to decide whether to expand wine sales beyond the state's nearly 600 licensed liquor stores. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Mike Brown)
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

By ERIK SCHELZIG

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Campaign contributions totaling more than $364,000 have poured into lawmakers over the past two years from liquor wholesalers, package stores and the beer industry — three groups that have traditionally opposed changing state law to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets.

An Associated Press analysis of campaign finance data shows that six members of the Senate Finance Committee, which is scheduled to take up the bill Tuesday, received a combined $38,000 from the three political action committees. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville alone received $13,000.

The remaining five members of the Senate panel received no contributions from the three groups.

Members of the House subcommittee scheduled to take first action on the measure on Wednesday received $15,000 from the three PACs.

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