Florida Lawmakers pass bill to tear down 'liquor wall'

SB 106/HB 81 headed to Governor's desk
Posted at 3:14 PM, Apr 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-26 16:23:36-04

 A bill to tear down the liquor wall in Florida is headed to Gov. Rick Scott's desk. 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Senate's bill (SB 106/HB 81) by one vote, 58-57.

It allows grocery stores, big box retailers and other stores to sell liquor in the same space as other products. 

Currently, liquor must be sold in a side store which is separated by a wall.  

Coalitions like Fair Biz in Florida posted on social media Wednesday, showing Walmart and Target employees supporting the measure.

However, some smaller, mom-and-pop liquor stores now are concerned about staying open and the impact on its customers.

“Does the money stay here in Florida?" asked Sean Slack, an employee with Gaspar's Liquor Shoppe in Temple Terrace. "Does the money they (big box retailers) generate stay in the community?

Smaller, free-standing liquor stores also say they are able to more closely monitor who has access to alcohol as minors are not allowed inside their store.

“When you’re coming in here, you’re coming in here for liquor specifically," Slack said

Some small business employees also petitioned state lawmakers, saying the bill, also nicknamed the "Whiskey and Wheaties" bill, is anti-local business and anti-public safety.

If Gov. Scott signs the bill, the law takes effect July 1, 2017. If signed into law, it would be phased in over a five-year period.