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Wait, Tennessee Might Ban Cold Beer?

Tennessee lawmakers are pursuing a bill that might ban convenience stores from selling cold alcoholic beverages, according to a February 15 report from local Nashville news outlet WSMV. The ban would be part of a larger legislation, called the Tennessee Prevention of Drunk Driving Act, focused on preventing drunk driving accidents in the area.

The first part of the bill seeks to outlaw the sale of chilled beer at convenience stores in an attempt to make consumers be more thoughtful about consumption. Enforcing this law would, in theory, persuade buyers to buy beer further in advance in order to refrigerate it at home before drinking it, therefore lowering the risk of drunk driving. The only other state with a similar law in place is Indiana.

Republican representative Ron Grant is a proponent of this bill, and as a victim of a drunk driving crash two years ago in Hardeman County, believes these measures will be important in preventing more accidents.

“Let’s not make it easy for a person who is going to drink and drive to be able to continue to go in there and buy cold beer,” Gant told WSMV. “Is it such an inconvenience to only buy room temperature beer? Knowing that you’re doing that you are stopping bad actors from having easy access to cold beer.”

The second initiative in the bill would cap the number of drinks that customers can order at a bar or restaurant unless the party could prove that they have a designated driver with them. The legislation would also require law enforcement to work with the Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) to investigate drunk driving accidents. This would allow the police to legally trace where the driver may have purchased their beer or liquor, and the store or bar responsible could lose their license. This would further incentivize businesses to not over-serve their patrons.

The bill has predictably stirred up some controversy in the state, with many lawmakers expressing opposition to the plan. “I think it’s ridiculous that we are moving with more urgency to ban cold beer than we are to ban weapons of war from our street,” Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville commented according to WSMV.

In response to the backlash, representative Ron Grant has changed the language of the bill, specifying “I do not want to infringe on law-abiding citizens or be unfair to businesses,” according to WSMV. Grant released a full statement to the news outlet, mentioning that the final version of the bill is still being drafted, but will likely revoke any language that would prevent the sale of cold beer in Tennessee.

“I believe we can find proactive, common-sense ways that keep our roadways safe and prevent drunk driving fatalities in Tennessee,” Grant said in the statement.

The article Wait, Tennessee Might Ban Cold Beer? appeared first on VinePair.

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