On Wednesday afternoon, the Florida House of Representatives voted to eliminate a restriction that keeps supermarket chains from selling hard alcohol in their grocery stores. The controversial “liquor wall” bill passed by a single vote that was split among Orlando lawmakers.
The vote passed 58 to 57 with five missing and now heads to Governor’s desk. Two Orlando lawmakers gave passionate speeches in opposition of the measure during the debate on the house floor.
“If this bill passes tens of thousands of 16 to 21 year olds will be working in close proximity to millions of dollars of hard liquor for the first time since 1936.” said Longwood Republican Scott Plakon “You could produce a whole book of statistics for me and I’d still have a hard time believing the liquor and the kids won’t meet in these stores.”
Democrat Carlos Guillermo Smith believed the bill would hurt small business saying “I know this law is a relic of prohibition. Maybe this law serves a brand new purpose and that purpose is to keep big box business from steamrolling independent and small business owners.”
Representatives in favor of the bill said the legislation was needed to meet the demands of the consumers and turned back the message that the division would lead to easier access for underage drinkers.
Joining Plakon and Smith in opposition were Democrats Bruce Antone, Kamia Brown, John Cortes, and Republicans Eric Eisnaugle, Mike Miller, Rene Plasenica, and Jennifer Sullivan.
Voting “yes” from the Orlando area were Republican Representatives Jason Brodeur, Bob Cortes, Mike LaRosa and David Santiago.
Representative Amy Mercado missed the vote to visit her parents Senator Victor Torres and his wife Carmen, who were rear ended by a truck earlier this morning. Both visited the hospital and have since been released.
You can see how Orlando lawmakers voted below…