Owners of small liquor stores want Gov. Rick Scott to veto a measure narrowly approved by the House that would allow retail giants to stock liquor on the shelves alongside groceries and other goods.
The House on Wednesday voted 58-57 after spending more than four hours over two days dissecting the heavily lobbied proposal (SB 106), which would remove a Depression-era “wall” separating the sale of liquor and groceries.
Amit Dashondi, owner of A-1 Liquor in Melbourne, said after the vote that without a gubernatorial veto, many liquor store owners will have no choice but to close and sell their liquor licenses to retail giants.
“It’s going to be a big, devastating happening to the small business owner and the whole economy of the Florida state,” said Dashondi, who joined a number of other liquor store owners watching the House vote from the visitors’ gallery.
Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone said the bill, which was approved last month by the Senate in a 21-17 vote, is being reviewed.
The bill would repeal a 1934 law that requires liquor stores to be stand-alone facilities. Retailers such as Walmart and Target have pushed for the repeal, which would allow them to sell hard liquor in their stores.
In addition to repealing the separation law, the bill would prohibit new package stores from being licensed within 1,000 feet of schools; require retail businesses that sell gas to be 10,000 square feet or larger to receive liquor licenses; require small bottles, 6.8 ounces or less, to be displayed only behind the counter; and require that checkout clerks under the age of…