House panel reverses course on Tennessee liquor store cap

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A House committee that two weeks ago voted to defeat a proposed cap on liquor store ownership in Tennessee has reversed course to place the limits back into the bill now headed for final approval.

Members of the House Finance Committee previously agreed that placing the two-store cap on package store owners would give unfair protection against market forces. But under heavy lobbying by liquor store retailers and wholesalers, the members of the panel voted Tuesday change their stance.

Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville, the bill’s main sponsor and a close ally of the liquor lobby, said the cap is necessary because owners sell “a dangerous product” that needs tight control.

House Republican leader Gerald McCormick argued the move reflects the “old ways” of helping special interests protect their industries.