Florida lawmakers pass bill to tear down ‘liquor wall’

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A wrecking ball to tear down the liquor wall in Florida is headed to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk after narrowly passing the House of Representatives.

The House on Tuesday 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 that is separated by a wall.

The Distilled Spirits Council says Florida would become the 28th state to allow the sale of liquor alongside wine and beer.

While the bill was supported by Wal-Mart and Target, independent liquor store owners opposed it because they say it would drive them out of business.

If signed into law, it would be phased in over a five-year period.

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