The House version of the “whiskey and Wheaties” bill stumbled and then face planted in its second committee hearing Tuesday afternoon.
The Walmart-backed HB 81, sponsored by Hialeah Republican Rep. Bryan Avila, would allow grocery stores and other retailers to sell liquor, rather than keeping up the so-called “liquor wall.”
The issue is a top priority for Miami Republican Sen. Anitere Flores and a boatload of retailers, but conservatives in the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee wanted nothing to do with it.
Their message to Walmart and Avila: no whiskey and Wheaties this year. Or vodka and veggies, or cachaça and chicken.
They were also unamenable to a simple scotch and soda.
The bill was temporarily postponed during the committee’s 1 p.m. meeting Tuesday because, apparently, it didn’t have the votes to pass, which almost happened last month when it narrowly escaped the Careers & Competition Subcommittee with an 8-7 vote. Pulling up that vote record might give an indication of which lawmakers are squares.
Compared to the House, the Senate seems to be looking forward to some one-stop shopping for all their food and booze needs. Flores’ bill, SB 106, has already cleared both of its committees and is ready for a floor vote in the Senate.
It might not matter though if the House doesn’t clear Avila’s bill.