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Beer advertising bill cleared for House floor

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A House bill that would have allowed “advertising” by beer companies in the state’s theme parks on Monday morphed into a measure that specifically allows “brand naming agreements.”

What “brand naming agreements” are, however, isn’t defined in the bill (HB 423).

“I’ll bet you your definition and my definition are two different things,” sponsor Mike La Rosa told the Commerce Committee, which eventually cleared the bill for the full House on a 17-9 vote after no debate.

“My intent is that it’s for marketing purposes,” he added. “So if a manufacturer wanted to name an event, or sponsor an event, they can do both” under the bill.  

But another amendment failed that would have allowed such agreements with all businesses that serve booze on premises, not just theme parks.

Josh Aubuchon, executive director of the Florida Brewers Guild, the state’s craft beer lobby, referred to the proposal as “little more than a cash grab by the theme parks from beer manufacturers.”

A similar measure (SB 388) already passed the Senate but contains provisions not in the House, including opening up the state to the sale of wine bottles of all sizes.

Updated 10:30 p.m. — As of Monday night, both bills were placed on the House’s special order calendar for Thursday.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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