NASHVILLE - Things got risky for a bill allowing whiskey distilling in Chattanooga this afternoon after the measure's sponsor asked for a one-week delay, accusing opponents of a separate provision of the bill of using dirty tactics.
"Mr. Chairman, due to some unseemly actions by the people who are opposed to this bill, I would hope that the chair would give me a one-week committee [delay]," Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lacassas, said.
Earlier today, Carr told the Times Free Press that the bill has been caught up in a Gatlinburg-centered dispute with Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery. The distillery already operates a distillery in Gatlinburg.
Carr charged the company is trying to kill the measure because the company fears the measure allows a would-be competitor in Gatlinburg to locate within 1,000 yards of Ole Smoky's operation.
Carr's bill, requested by most members of the Hamilton County delegation, amends a 2009 state law he passed allowing county commissions to approve the manufacture of whiskey.
Hamilton County was excluded from the original bill. Under a compromise, the bill would allow officials cities in Hamilton County in which voters have approved liquor-by-the-drink and local package referendums to OK whiskey distilleries.