In previous years, the bill has died in committee as a result of opposition lobbying by an unlikely coalition of liquor store owners and the religious right. What made the difference this time around was an option added to the bill that will enable cities that allow liquor by the drink to hold referendums to decide the issue locally.
The bill hasn't passed the Senate or House yet, but it's further down the road than it's ever been before. If it passes, there's little doubt Memphis will hold a referendum on the issue. Some polls have shown that up to 70 percent of Tennesseans favor the measure.