NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a new version of a measure that allows people with handgun permits to carry their weapons in to bars and restaurants that serve alcohol as long as they don't drink.
While the heart of the bill remains the same, the new version removes an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and a ban on age-restricted establishments.
A conference committee on Monday removed the restrictions after the House and Senate passed two different versions.
The measure approved by the conference committee was exactly the same as the Senate version.
The House voted to either agree with what the conference committee did or disagree, which would have sent the measure back to the committee.
It passed overwhelmingly by a 66-23 margin, much to the relief of longtime sponsor Rep. Curry Todd, who first introduced the legislation 10 years ago.
"It's over with, I'm glad. It's been 10 years getting this bill to where it is now," he said.
The Senate on Monday is expected to agree with the House action because the measure is the same one it originally approved.
The measure will then go to Governor Phil Bredesen, who can sign it into law, let it be law without his signature or veto the bill.
A simple majority in each chamber could override a veto.
If the bill passes it would go into effect June 1.