-Industry, Chambers of Commerce, Retailers Come Together to Support Repealer Language-

(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Floridians for Fair Business Practices (FFBP) today welcomed new members to the coalition including the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce and close to two thousand Floridians who have signed a petition supporting Florida legislation to level the playing field in how groceries and spirits are placed in one convenient location. The Coalition supports HB 499/SB 468, which would repeal the archaic law and allow retailers to sell spirits in the same aisle as beer, wine and other grocery items.

“When there are laws that have outlived their purpose and relevance, it’s time to take them off the books,” said Carol Dover, President/CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging. “This prohibition-era law needs to be repealed so large and small retailers may compete on the same level playing field.”

“This is a matter of government overregulation. Small business needs to have the same advantages as large business for competition purposes,” said Windell Paige, President of the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce based in Tallahassee, Florida.

House Bill 499 and Senate Bill 468, also referred to as the repealer bill, was filed in January by Rep. John Wood (R-Winter Haven) and Sen. Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) respectively. 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, “Repealing the alcohol separation issue supports a free market, with fewer regulations and allows for a level playing field among independent retailers. In addition, there is no denying that a higher crime rate exists among separate liquor stores. If passed, this law would allow establishments who want to sell spirits in the same aisle as beer and wine, where even greater security measures are in place, to do so without being forced to comply with 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.”

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.