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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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Why does Florida use pass/fail for health inspections, not actual grades?

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After a local news outlet reported seven Tampa Bay-area Publix grocery stores failed health inspections, the Department of Agriculture pulled all pass/fail grades and inspections from the online database. “I believe that the pass/fail system is unclear because if it’s a failure, why is it still open?” Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam explained to WFTS-TV. Which raises the question: Why is the state using a pass/fail instead of a simple grading system? Most regions use either a letter or number grade for…

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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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Publix slicing out free deli meat to customers

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Deli customers at Publix may be asking, “Where’s the meat?” The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Lakeland-based grocery chain has ended a long-standing practice of giving customers complimentary slices of deli meat when they place orders at the deli counter at some stores. Publix deli workers would often give the customer the initial slice to examine the thinness or thickness of the meat. But Publix began to shift away from that practice at some of its stores about two weeks…

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Amendment would slow down effect of ‘whiskey and Wheaties’ bill

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State Sen. Bill Galvano Wednesday filed an amendment to this year’s “whiskey and Wheaties” legislation to “slow its implementation so it doesn’t come into the marketplace all at once.” The bill (SB 106), filed for four years running, would repeal the Prohibition-era state law requiring businesses, such as grocery chains and big-box retailers, to have separate stores to sell liquor. Beer and wine already are sold in grocery aisles in Florida. Galvano, a Bradenton Republican expected to be Senate President in 2018-20,…

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