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Legislature votes to tear down the ‘liquor wall’

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The Florida Legislature has voted to tear down the booze ‘wall.’ The House, on a by-a-nose vote of 58-57, Wednesday passed the Senate’s bill (SB 106) to allow retailers, at least those who choose to do so, to remove the ‘wall of separation’ between hard liquor and other goods. 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. Beer and wine…

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Liquor ‘wall of separation’ could fall in Florida

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A bill to allow retailers to sell hard liquor in the same store as other goods is one step closer to passing the Legislature. On Tuesday, the House decided to take up the Senate’s version of the “whiskey & Wheaties” legislation (SB 106) out of a “spirit of compromise,” bill sponsor Bryan Avila, a Hialeah Republican said. After two and a half hours of questions and a string of amendments that were defeated or withdrawn, the House could take a final vote on the bill as…

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Is this ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ last hurrah for 2017?

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A troubled measure to undo the requirement that retailers sell distilled spirits separately from other goods is back on the House calendar for this week. But a number of amendments were filed Friday night that could continue to muddle the legislation’s path to passage. The House on Tuesday will again consider the “whiskey & Wheaties” bill (SB 106/HB 81), after postponing it twice in recent weeks. The Senate’s version passed last month.  The most recent snag came after lawyers for Publix, the Florida supermarket…

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Short takes: Legislative roundup for Wednesday

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House votes on senate gambling bill—by amending it with their own bill The House stood its ground, voting 73-40 Wednesday to replace the Senate’s gambling overhaul (SB 8) with its own version (HB 7037). That sets up the conference process by which both sides say they can “iron out the differences” between their different approaches. The gulf is wide, with the House wanting to lock down gambling expansion in the state and the Senate open to a host of new…

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Farmworkers, supporters to march in Tampa; continue demands on Wendy’s, Publix

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On Wednesday afternoon, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) will make its final stop in Tampa on a 12-city “Return to Human Rights Tour.” There, the CIW will march from a Publix location to a Wendy’s franchise in Tampa, to escalate its national boycott against the hamburger chain. Both the March and Vigil for Human Rights is a CIW boycott in response to the retailer’s decision to abandon its relationship with tomato growers and shift purchases to Mexico rather than participate in…

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Joe Henderson: Time for wall between whiskey & Wheaties to crumble

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It’s not surprising that the so-called “whiskey and Wheaties” bill that cleared a Florida House committee Wednesday did so by a bare 15-13 margin. Any measure that makes it easier to buy booze will mobilize people on both sides. This bill is basically equivalent to one in the Senate, which would knock down the legislative wall that requires retailers to sell hard liquor in a separate store. That’s how you get booze stores attached to places like Publix, Wal-Mart and Sam’s…

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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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