-Coalition Thanks House, Senate Leaders for Working to Repeal Outdated Separation Law-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – A coalition of retailers and businesses announced its support of House Bill 499 filed by Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven) and Senate Bill 468 filed by Sen. Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) that will repeal Florida’s outdated and inconvenient separation law. Florida has yet to modernize the prohibition-era law, which restricts consumer access to alcoholic beverages by requiring liquor to be sold in a location separate from groceries and other goods.

Florida is one of only 20 states with a separation law, with other states having the ability to ‘co-mingle’ their product to offer customer convenience and less regulation.

Rep. Wood had this to say in filing the legislation, “While I agree that repealing the alcohol separation issue supports a free market, less regulatory environment and allows for a level playing field among independent retailers, there is no denying that there is a higher crime rate among separate liquor stores,” said Wood. “If passed, this law would enable establishments who want to sell spirits in the same aisle as beer and wine where even greater security measures are in place, to not be held up by some antiquated law.”

“For retail stores, there is a clear concern that archaic regulations are a barrier to their consumers’ shopping choices. This straightforward repealer bill eliminates a misguided monopoly and guarantees consumers a real choice in the marketplace,” said Senate sponsor Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring). “In this case, Florida shoppers and shopkeepers should be able to decide what’s on the grocery shelf, not government.”

“On behalf of the Floridians for Fair Business Practices coalition, we thank Rep. John Wood and Sen. Denise Grimsley for their leadership in filing this pro-business, common sense legislation that will level the playing field for both independent package stores and retailers across Florida,” said coalition spokesperson Christina Johnson. “Tearing down the proverbial wall between spirits and beer and wine will allow more customer convenience and in an atmosphere with even more securities in place to address minor access concerns.”

About Floridians for Fair Business Practices
Floridians for Fair Business Practices is a coalition of retailers and business groups whose purpose is to identify rules and regulations, which prohibit the growth and expansion of Florida business. For additional information, please go to www.FairBizinFlorida.com.

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