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Beer advertising bill cleared for House floor

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A House bill that would have allowed “advertising” by beer companies in the state’s theme parks on Monday morphed into a measure that specifically allows “brand naming agreements.” What “brand naming agreements” are, however, isn’t defined in the bill (HB 423). “I’ll bet you your definition and my definition are two different things,” sponsor Mike La Rosa told the Commerce Committee, which eventually cleared the bill for the full House on a 17-9 vote after no debate. “My intent is…

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Bottoms up: Beer, booze bills clear Senate committee

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Let freedom pour: Bills aimed at changing beer and booze regulations in Florida have cleared their latest review panel. The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee OK’d measures that would allow beer distributors to give free branded beer glasses to bars and restaurants, authorize beer companies to advertise in theme parks and let craft distillers sell more bottles directly to consumers. Sen. Frank Artiles, the Miami-Dade Republican sponsoring the glass bill (SB 1040), told committee members the measure would benefit small businesses…

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Mickey vs. the tax man: Disney, Universal fight tax bills

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It takes a lot of land to accommodate Cinderella’s castle, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Epcot’s 11-country World Showcase — and a hefty purse to pay the property taxes on it. To cut tax bills in the tens of millions of dollars, the specialists at Orlando’s famous theme parks have employed methods from the creative — placing cows on undeveloped land and claiming an agricultural exemption — to the traditional — negotiating or appealing to a county board.…

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Senate panel OKs beer bill — that beer companies hate

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A bill that—as one beer-company insider put it—could allow theme parks to “extort” advertising dollars out of them cleared a Senate panel this week. The legislation (SB 388), which allows beer companies to advertise in theme parks, was OK’d unanimously by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee with scant attention. It chips away at the state’s “tied house evil” law by allowing ads, which could include a beer company sponsoring a concert or festival within a park. And ironically, the companies don’t want the law changed.…

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The Might of Mickey: Orlando still top U.S. destination

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It’s a crowded world after all – at least in Orlando’s hotels and theme parks. Tourism officials announced Monday that the number of visitors coming to Orlando last year jumped 5.5 percent to more than 66 million visitors. That figure sets a record for tourists in Orlando and helps the central Florida city hang onto its bragging rights as the top tourist destination in the United States for the second year in a row. The head of Orlando’s tourist marketing…

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Bill would allow booze in All Aboard Florida stations, trains

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Future riders of All Aboard Florida would be allowed a tipple as they wait for a train under legislation moving in the Legislature. The already-approved Senate bill (SB 698) was passed by the House Friday on a 115-1 vote, with only Keystone Heights Republican Charles Van Zant opposed. The House added some changes, though, sending it back to the Senate. The alcoholic-beverage omnibus bill permits booze to be sold on All Aboard Florida trains and in its transit stations. The idea is that restaurants,…

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When it comes to theme parks, Florida reigns supreme, no-brainer study says

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Florida, particularly the Orlando area, could be accurately named the theme park capitol of the world, according to findings in an AECOM study released Wednesday. Out of 25 top theme parks worldwide, Florida is home to seven of them. That’s more top-ranking theme parks in one place than anywhere else in the world. The fact that they are all within just a few miles of one another makes it all the more spectacular for theme-park-goers. The top-ranked theme park is…

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