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Bottoms up: Beer, booze bills clear Senate committee

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Let freedom pour: Bills aimed at changing beer and booze regulations in Florida have cleared their latest review panel. The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee OK’d measures that would allow beer distributors to give free branded beer glasses to bars and restaurants, authorize beer companies to advertise in theme parks and let craft distillers sell more bottles directly to consumers. Sen. Frank Artiles, the Miami-Dade Republican sponsoring the glass bill (SB 1040), told committee members the measure would benefit small businesses…

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Where’s the line? Theme parks aiming to eliminate them

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At Universal Orlando Resort’s new “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon” ride, waiting in line has been replaced by lounging on couches and listening to a racy barbershop quartet sing until it’s time to enter the ride. Universal is leading the theme-park charge into “virtual lines” that give visitors options for exploring a park or watching live entertainment instead of the tedium of looking at someone’s back as you inch forward step by step to the thrill ride. “It’s…

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Senate panel OKs beer bill — that beer companies hate

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A bill that—as one beer-company insider put it—could allow theme parks to “extort” advertising dollars out of them cleared a Senate panel this week. The legislation (SB 388), which allows beer companies to advertise in theme parks, was OK’d unanimously by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee with scant attention. It chips away at the state’s “tied house evil” law by allowing ads, which could include a beer company sponsoring a concert or festival within a park. And ironically, the companies don’t want the law changed.…

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Richard Corcoran says philosophy, facts drive his EFI, VISIT Florida axe

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Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran made it clear Friday he is sticking to his drive to abolish Enterprise Florida Inc. and VISIT Florida saying the moves are right in philosophy and facts. “I’m telling you we’re right. We’re absolutely right,” Corcoran declared in a speech before the Central Florida Urban League. Corcoran described Enterprise Florida as an organization that serves the top 1 percent of companies and most of them did not deliver and  belittled VISIT Florida for paying for Pitbull‘s…

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Halloween is brought you by these Florida lobbyists and political associations

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The witching hour is upon us. Ghosts and ghouls fill the streets. Zombies walk side-by-side with princesses and superheroes. Their mission the same: Spook and scare their neighbors in hopes of scoring enough candy to sustain them for the next year. Total spending for Halloween is expected to reach $8.2 billion in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation. The annual survey expects consumers will spend an average of $82.93, up from $74.34 in 2015. The National Retail Federation predicts…

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Report: Magic Kingdom world’s top theme park, drawing 20M

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Disney World’s Magic Kingdom continues to be the top amusement park draw in the world with 20.5 million visitors in 2015, according to a report released Wednesday. Disneyland in Anaheim, California, was No. 2 with an estimated 18.3 million visitors, followed by Tokyo Disneyland, which had an estimated 16 million, according to a report from AECOM and the Themed Entertainment Association. Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld all saw a jump in attendance in 2015 over the previous year, according to…

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Andy Gardiner touts Center for Students with Unique Abilities at education summit

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The push to make sure Florida graduates can enter the workforce shouldn’t stop when it comes to students with intellectual disabilities. That was the message Senate President Andy Gardiner sent during a speech at the Degrees to Jobs Education Summit on Wednesday afternoon. Gardiner used his speech to highlight the work the Legislature has done to make sure all Floridians receive a good education. The Orlando Republican also encouraged business and higher education officials to continue to work to make…

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