Tennessee cold beer ban proposal now creates drunk driving task force instead

Published 4:20 pm Monday, March 11, 2024

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By Jon Styf

The Center Square

A caption bill that originally would have banned the retail sale of cold beer in Tennessee has been amended to create a task force on impaired driving and boating in Tennessee.

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House Bill 2845 is set to be heard in the House State Government Committee on Tuesday.

The 12-member task force will “study current levels of impaired driving in this state and ways to reduce impaired driving, repeat offenders, and underage offenders.”

A report of its findings and legislative recommendations will be due from the group by Dec. 1, 2025.

The bill also creates a requirement law enforcement notify the alcoholic beverage commission within 48 hours of any fatal accident where alcohol was believed to be involved.

The alcohol commission will be required to submit a report by Feb. 15 in odd years that includes statistics on violations, alcohol-related traffic and boating accidents involving death, injury and property loss along with alcohol-related arrests from driving and boating.

House sponsor Ron Gant, R-Piperton, was involved in a fatal 2022 two-car head-on crash where the other vehicle crossed the center line and hit his vehicle, killing the other driving and leading Gant to get flown by helicopter to a Memphis hospital, the Tennessee Journal reported.

Gant pulled back on his initial cold beer ban proposal after backlash in mid-February, writing it was “one of the many ideas discussed and considered by the many stakeholders across our state as potential item to be included in the legislation.”