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Top chairwoman out in Senate committee shakeup

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey has replaced the chairwoman of the powerful judiciary committee with a key ally, while assignments to House panels have cast doubt on the prospects of the latest effort to allow wine to be sold in Tennessee supermarkets and convenience stores.

Ramsey, a Blountville Republican, on Thursday removed Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet as the head of the judiciary panel, replacing her with Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown.

Kelsey's leadership aspirations as a member of the state House were derailed when it became public that he had offered to cease criticizing then-Speaker Kent Williams in return for the judiciary chairmanship. He was later elected to the Senate.

Meanwhile, opponents of the supermarket wine measure rejoiced at Speaker Beth Harwell's appointments to the new State Government Committee.
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