by Steven Hale
Over at The City Paper, this week's cover story is a preview of this year's legislative session, which — clear your schedule — begins Jan. 8 at noon.
The CP's Andrea Zelinski gives the bulk of the attention to the debate over wine in grocery stores, a perennial issue which some in the legislature feel has aged long enough.
In the legislature, both speakers have indicated they are friendly to the idea of wine in food stores, including Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, who said he wanted to give the issue “a fighting chance” this year and would consider that bill when making his committee
House Speaker Beth Harwell, who said she supports grocery stores selling wine, said the topic has been coming for a long time and may finally be due. She stopped short, though, of saying her views on the idea will sway how she builds the committee that will hear the legislation.
“When appointing committees, however, I consider each member’s area of expertise, experience, previous service and their interests,” Harwell told The City Paper in an email asking to what extent the wine bill will affect how she builds committees. This year, she plans on breaking the committee the wine bill typically lands in into two separate committees. Whom she appoints to each committee and where she assigns that bill could indicate the opportunity the bill has for a chance to advance.
Additionally, Zelinski looks at guns-in-lots, Medicaid expansion, the budget, vouchers and charter schools, and workers' comp. She also passes along some info on the how the legislature works, and how the public can keep an eye on them.