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Focus turns to recovery after Irma’s exit

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More than 5.5 million homes and businesses in Florida remained without power at midday Tuesday after Hurricane Irma plowed through the state. The top to return to homes was underway in most areas outside the storm-ravaged lower Florida Keys.

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Florida stores begin opening post-Irma

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After Hurricane Irma ravaged most of Florida Sunday and Monday, food and other supplies have been in short supply, with many grocery, department and other store closures. As chains are just beginning to assess damage Tuesday, with several in “recovery” mode. A list of most major food stores, and their current status (h/t to Bay News 9): Aldi closure list Fresh Market closure list Publix closure list Sprouts closure list Target closure list Trader Joe’s closure list Wal-Mart closure list  Wawa closure…

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The hangover: Rick Scott vetoes ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ bill

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Saying it could hurt job creation, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a contentious bill that would have removed the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. Scott filed his veto letter of the measure (SB 106) on Wednesday night, his deadline to act on the bill. It’s the first veto of a bill from the 2017 Legislative Session. It would have removed the 82-year-old requirement, enacted in Florida after Prohibition, that hard liquor be sold in a separate store. Beer and wine…

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Big-box chains, others make one last push for ‘whiskey & Wheaties’

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Costco now is joining Wal-Mart, Target and others in one last push to get Gov. Rick Scott to sign a bill to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. Their Floridians For Fair Business Practices coalition on Friday released a tranche of letters sent to Scott encouraging him to OK the legislation (SB 106) known by the nickname “whiskey and Wheaties.” They also include representatives of Whole Foods Market, the Distilled Spirits Council and the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.…

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Independent liquor stores fight ‘Whiskey and Wheaties Bill’

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Owners of small, independent liquor stores in central Florida are asking customers to support their efforts urging the governor to veto a bill allowing the sale of spirits in grocery stores. A proposal nicknamed the “Whiskey and Wheaties Bill” (SB 106) would allow grocery stores, big box retailers and other stores to sell liquor alongside wine, beer and other products. Gov. Rick Scott could sign the bill into law, after it passed the Florida Legislature last month with a one-vote…

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Joe Henderson: Tearing down ‘booze wall’ is right choice for consumers

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Assuming Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill repealing the state’s so-called “booze wall,” I suspect it won’t take long before we all wonder what the fuss was about. The euphemistic wall is one of those Prohibition-era creations that mandated hard liquor can’t be sold in regular grocery stores. That might have made sense 82 years ago when it was enacted, but in 2017 — when convenience and one-stop shopping drives the market — it no longer does. Repealing the law…

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Interests for and against ‘liquor wall’ legislation react to passage

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The reaction to the Florida Legislature’s repeal of the state’s “booze wall” law continued long after Wednesday’s vote. The House, on a close vote of 58-57, passed the Senate’s bill (SB 106) to allow retailers to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. (Full story here.) The legislation now heads to Gov. Rick Scott. If signed into law, the state will end 82 years of mandating that retailers sell distilled spirits in a separate store from other items. Floridians for Fair Business…

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