UPDATE: Channel 3 has learned that Red White and Food has been notified that the city of Chattanooga has enough valid petition signatures to hold a wine in retail food stores referendum in November.
Below is a statement from Red White and Food campaign manager Susie Alcorn.
“This is a great day for Chattanooga voters, who will have the opportunity to determine whether wine can be sold in their retail food stores. Gathering enough valid petition signatures has been a complicated process and would not have been possible without the support of Red White and Food’s retail partners in the area, including BI-LO, Food Lion and Publix. We are incredibly grateful to all of the interested residents who took the time to sign the petition. “We are also appreciative of the Hamilton County Election Commission for keeping us informed throughout the signature verification process,” said Susie Alcorn, Red White and Food campaign manager.
PREVIOUS STORY: A state-wide non-profit organization has teamed up with a southern supermarket giant to launch a petition campaign across the state to sell wine in grocery stores.
Publix Supermarkets and Red White and Food had a news conference Monday at the Hixson store to discuss the petition collection and approval process.
While the wine sales in supermarkets bill was passed by Tennessee legislators in the 2014 session and signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam, local voters must still approve the sales in local referendums.
Cities that currently allow liquor-by-the-drink, liquor stores or both must submit petitions to local election commission with a number of valid signatures from registered voters that would equal 10% of the residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
Registered voters may sign the petition only once; petitions must be completed and verified by the local election commissions by August 21 be to placed on the November 4 ballot.
Ultimately, if the referendum were to pass in a particular city, retail food stores could sell wine beginning July 1, 2016.
Red White and Food announced in May that the group will become an independent, nonprofit organization and will lead the statewide wine referendum campaign.
Schedules for signature collection will be posted on the Red White and Food website, according to a news release.