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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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Senate passes ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ bill

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Three Legislative Sessions later, the Senate finally passed a bill to allow retailers to sell hard liquor in the same store as other goods. Senators approved the “whiskey and Wheaties” legislation (SB 106) on a 21-17 vote after a debate in which one senator said it would “kill … kids.” Sen. Bill Galvano, the Bradenton Republican who first filed a one-line repealer in 2014, spoke in favor of what has now become a 5-page bill. Among other things, it requires miniatures to be sold behind…

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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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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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Senate’s ‘whiskey & Wheaties’ bill teed up for floor

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The Florida Senate’s bill to remove the “wall of separation” between hard liquor and other retail goods is scheduled for the floor next week. The “whiskey and Wheaties” legislation (SB 106) is on the special order calendar for next Tuesday, according to the chamber’s website on Friday. Meantime, the House companion (HB 81) has been struggling, escaping its committees by one-vote margins twice. A version of the bill has been filed for four years running, aiming to repeal the Prohibition-era state law requiring businesses,…

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