Senate To Consider ‘Liquor Wall’ Appeal
A controversial measure that would allow liquor to be sold in grocery and retail stores is expected to go before the full Senate on Tuesday.
The proposal (SB 106) would end a Depression-era law requiring liquor stores to be separated from groceries and other retail goods, an issue commonly referred to as the "liquor wall."
The battle over the wall has drawn lobbying from Walmart and Target, which want to stock liquor on shelves near other goods, and Publix and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, which have stand-alone liquor stores as part of their corporate blueprints.
To make the proposal more palatable, bill sponsor Anitere Flores, R-Miami, has made changes that would stagger the repeal of the law over several years; prohibit new package stores from being licensed within 1,000 feet of schools; and require that small bottles, 6.8 ounces or less, be displayed only behind the counter.
The proposal also would prohibit liquor licenses from being issued to gas stations that are not linked with locations providing more than 10,000 square-feet of retail space. A similar House measure (HB 81) has gotten favorable votes from two panels and will next go to the Commerce Committee.