Tennessee Senate passes bill allowing alcohol sales at college sports stadiums; House to discuss on Thursday

Government vehicles are parked outside McKenzie Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn. President Donald Trump is expected to hold a pre-election day rally at the arena on Sunday.

NASHVILLE - The Tennessee Senate on Monday approved legislation to permit alcohol sales at most Tennessee public college and university sports venues, clearing the way for final action in the House later this week.

Senators approved the bill on a 28-3 vote with no debate. Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, was among the three voting no.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is among campuses that would be impacted. Officials there say they are interested in the ability to sell alcohol at McKenzie Arena, UTC's basketball venue, for entertainment events including concerts.

Sponsored by Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, R-Knoxville, the legislation is a follow-up to a 2018 law that allowed alcohol sales at Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University sports facilities. The law designates them as a "sports authority" under existing state alcohol statutes.