Legislation proposed to allow wine sales in Mississippi grocery stores

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(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV)- The Looking for Wine Mississippi coalition supports recently proposed legislation to allow grocery stores in Mississippi to sell wine.

The legislation in the Mississippi state House of Representatives (HB 981) is sponsored by state Rep. Brent Powell (R-Brandon), and state Sen. Walter Michel (R-Ridgeland) is sponsor of the bill being taken up in the Senate (SB 2531).

According to Rep. Powell, Mississippi’s wine laws no longer reflect the desires of its residents.

“Mississippians are asking for this convenience. In 39 other states, including all of our border states, shoppers have the opportunity to purchase wine where they buy the rest of their groceries,” Powell said. “It’s time for us to pass laws that reflect where Mississippi is today, not where we were in the Prohibition era.”

A recent statewide public opinion survey conducted by Spry Strategies found that a strong majority of Mississippi registered voters say they favor changing state law to allow wine to be sold in food stores. When asked how much they would support or oppose legislation to allow wine sales in food stores, a total of 75% said they would support it.

Mississippi also stands to bring in $18 million to $20 million in new state revenue and 800 to 1,000 jobs from passing the wine-in-grocery-stores legislation, according to a Mississippi State University economic impact study.

“Wine in grocery stores can have a positive impact for our state’s economic health,” Sen. Michel said. “We are looking at potentially millions in revenue, some of which we are losing now due to Mississippi residents’ crossing into neighboring states to shop for their weekly groceries because of the convenience of buying wine in the same trip.”

Looking for Wine Mississippi coalition chairman Elliott Flaggs says that Mississippians deserve the same opportunities and conveniences as the residents of neighboring states, and this is why he is spearheading coalition efforts to change the law.

“Our coalition is over 5,500 Mississippi voters, with more joining every day, who are advocating for economic growth and consumer convenience,” Flaggs said. “We are calling on our legislators to make this change to the state’s outdated alcohol laws.”

Looking for Wine Mississippi is a growing coalition of more than 5,500 Mississippians who support allowing wine sales in grocery stores. The coalition is building public support for the passage of a bill in the Mississippi legislature during the 2020 session to allow wine sales in Mississippi grocery stores, which is legal in 39 states, including the Mississippi border states of Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana.

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