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Titans bill to make Sunday bar hours start at 8 a.m. fails in House

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(The Center Square) – A bill that would allow Nashville to open bars at 8 a.m. on Sundays failed in the Tennessee House.

House Bill 1672 failed with a 33-46 vote with 13 members marked present but not voting.

The bill suggested by the Tennessee Titans to allow fans to head to bars earlier on Sundays when the NFL holds games in Europe.

House Reps. Tom Leatherwood, R-Arlington, and Bud Hulsey, R-Kingsport, objected to the bill, saying it was contradictory to Senate Bill 1798, which required bartender alcohol awareness training to include training to recognize a person could be under the influence of a date rape drug and signs of human trafficking.

SB 1798 passed on a 91-4 vote after being amended and will now head back to the Senate.

“I don’t see the two as living in the same world,” said Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Nashville. “You should be able to drink responsibly without being raped.”

Freeman said the bills are mutually exclusive, saying Gov. Bill Haslam had signed legislation in the state to allow for alcohol sales on Sundays but put different hours on alcohol sales than any other day of the week.

Currently, bars can begin alcohol sales at 10 a.m. on Sundays and 8 a.m. on every other day.

“Once again, we are saturating this state with alcohol, from one end to the other,” said Rep. Ron M. Gant, R-Piperton. “I just want us to begin to think about every time we approve alcohol starting at 8 o’clock in the morning. Where does it end?”

The Titans pushed for the bill after playing Sunday games in London in both 2018 and 2023.

European games in the NFL, and there are four in 2024, have not been announced but the franchises designated as “home team” are set. The Titans are the guests of two of them – the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. Full schedules will be released in the spring.

The bill would have required a city that has approved liquor-by-the-drink sales by referendum to pass an ordinance by two-thirds vote to change bar hours.

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