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By two votes, House ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ bill cleared for floor

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In another squeaker, the House version of a bill to allow retailers to sell liquor in their main stores cleared its last committee by just two votes. The House Commerce Committee on Wednesday OK’d the legislation (HB 81) on a 15-13 vote. It’s now ready to be considered by the full House. It previously cleared the Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee by a 7-6 vote. And it hobbled out of the Careers and Competition Subcommittee on an 8-7 vote. “Any time you have an issue…

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Senate begins consideration of ‘whiskey and Wheaties’ bill

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After Sen. Bill Galvano first proposed it four years ago, the Senate is poised to pass a bill removing the “wall of separation” between hard liquor and other retail goods.  Bill sponsor Anitere Flores, a Miami-Dade Republican and Senate President pro tempore, took questions on the legislation (SB 106) Tuesday. It’s now set up for debate and a final vote. The “whiskey and Wheaties” measure aims to repeal the Prohibition-era state law requiring businesses, such as grocery chains and big-box retailers, to have separate stores…

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Pennsylvania joins Florida in considering ‘whiskey & Wheaties’

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In addition to the Sunshine State, Pennsylvania lawmakers have now filed legislation to break down the wall of separation between liquor and other goods. On Saturday, the Philadelphia-based Billy Penn news site reported that bills in that state’s “House and Senate would create a new category of license that would allow grocery and convenience stores to add hard liquor to their shelves.” For decades, Pennsylvanians had to purchase distilled spirits at “state stores,” government-run retail outlets, and wine and beer…

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Is House splitting the difference over the whiskey & Wheaties bill?

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After the “whiskey and Wheaties” bill nearly whiffed in the House, a new twist was filed Monday evening. A proposed amendment on the bill (HB 81) would create dual “liquor package store licenses,” with “Type A” licenses going to stores keeping a wall of separation between booze and other retail items, and “Type B” licenses going to those who sell liquor in the same general space as other goods. Those getting a Type B license also must pay “an additional amount”…

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House whiskey and Wheaties bill stumbles in second committee

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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.…

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‘Whiskey and Wheaties’ bill squeaks out of House panel

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House members served up a sour version of the “whiskey and Wheaties” bill Wednesday as it barely cleared its first committee. The Careers and Competition Subcommittee cleared the legislation (HB 81) by a vote of 8-7, with the panel’s chair, Monticello Republican Halsey Beshears, voting against it. This is the fourth year a version of the bill has been filed. It aims to repeal the Prohibition-era state law requiring businesses, such as grocery chains and big-box retailers, to have separate…

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“Whiskey and Wheaties” bill now cleared for Senate floor

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A Senate bill to remove the “wall of separation” between hard liquor and other retail goods won approval from a second committee, clearing it to be considered by the full Senate. The bill sparked an unexpected objection from National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer after an amendment came up banning liquor from being sold in the same store as guns and ammo. The Rules Committee on Thursday OK’d the legislation (SB 106) by a 6-4 vote, with Democrats and prominent Republicans in opposition.…

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