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Interests for and against ‘liquor wall’ legislation react to passage

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The reaction to the Florida Legislature’s repeal of the state’s “booze wall” law continued long after Wednesday’s vote. The House, on a close vote of 58-57, passed the Senate’s bill (SB 106) to allow retailers to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. (Full story here.) The legislation now heads to Gov. Rick Scott. If signed into law, the state will end 82 years of mandating that retailers sell distilled spirits in a separate store from other items. Floridians for Fair Business…

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Legislature votes to tear down the ‘liquor wall’

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The Florida Legislature has voted to tear down the booze ‘wall.’ The House, on a by-a-nose vote of 58-57, Wednesday passed the Senate’s bill (SB 106) to allow retailers, at least those who choose to do so, to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. The legislation now heads to Gov. Rick Scott. If signed into law, the state will end 82 years of mandating that retailers sell distilled spirits in a separate store from other items. Beer and wine…

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Liquor ‘wall of separation’ could fall in Florida

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A bill to allow retailers to sell hard liquor in the same store as other goods is one step closer to passing the Legislature. On Tuesday, the House decided to take up the Senate’s version of the “whiskey & Wheaties” legislation (SB 106) out of a “spirit of compromise,” bill sponsor Bryan Avila, a Hialeah Republican said. After two and a half hours of questions and a string of amendments that were defeated or withdrawn, the House could take a final vote on the bill as…

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House forms first-ever Legislative Progressive Caucus

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More than a dozen Democratic Florida House members have formed the Progressive Legislative Caucus, with firebrand state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando elected as its first chair. The caucus held its organization meeting last week with Smith becoming chair, state Rep. Amy Mercado of Orlando vice chair, and state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo of Boca Raton as clerk. “As we enter the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session, the Legislative Progressive Caucus will adopt caucus positions on key legislation…

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Joe Henderson: House just made life a lot more difficult for public school boards, teachers

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It’s a good thing the Florida House of Representatives wasn’t in session when Columbus wanted to sail the ocean blue. Lawmakers would have passed a bill prohibiting the trip because science hadn’t yet proven that the earth was round. Oh, there were those crackpots who said it was, but the representatives of the day would have known better than to let those poor sailors float right off the edge of the flat planet into oblivion. Alas, the House is in…

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Rick Scott pushes ahead for VISIT FLORIDA funding

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Gov. Rick Scott went once more unto the breach Tuesday, pressing his case for full funding of the state’s VISIT FLORIDA tourism marketing agency. The Republican governor—surrounded by VISIT FLORIDA’s CEO Ken Lawson, board chairman William Talbert, and others—spoke with reporters outside his Capitol office. The GOP-majority House of Representatives, which at first wanted to eliminate the agency, instead reduced its budget to $25 million for next year. Scott wants $100 million to market the state to visitors, saying every dollar…

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Joe Henderson: Richard Corcoran’s invite to Bill Nelson a stick in Rick Scott’s eye, maybe more

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There were all kinds of messages being sent to Gov. Rick Scott late last week at the Florida House of Representatives. The one from Democrat Bill Nelson, a three-term U.S. senator, can be summed up in two words: game on. Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran had his own two-word message for the governor. I think I’ll leave it at that. Is loathing too strong a word for how those two feel about each other? Whatever the interpretation of the message,…

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