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Greg Steube’s ‘whiskey and Wheaties’ bill re-emerges in the House

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A proposal to allow grocers and big-box retailers to sell hard liquor in the same store as more wholesome wares lives on, according to state Rep. Greg Steube on Friday.

The Sarasota Republican’s HB 107 was pulled from consideration during Week 6 of this year’s lawmaking session after intense pushback from public health advocates and liquor store industry lobbyists, but it appears to be ready for consideration in a meeting notice ahead of a House Regulatory Affairs Committee hearing set for Tuesday.

The move comes amid changes to the bill that would no longer reverse a longstanding state policy requiring liquor to be sold in a separate store.

Instead, the measure simply provides that the entrances to normal retail outlets and stores that sell intoxicants can share the same building, but that they must be partitioned by a door.

On the Senate side, these changes are also reflected in the current version of SB 468 sponsored by state Sen. Denise Grimsley. That bill was approved in Regulated Industries late last month and currently sits in Commerce & Tourism. So far, the Senate companion bill is not slated to be taken up next week, but like so much else in the final weeks of session, that could change.

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to FloridaPolitics.com and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at [email protected]

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