A House committee, by a vote of 7 to 6, has approved legislation that would allow big box stores to sell liquor in the main store instead of at a walled off location. The measure was opposed by independent liquor stores who say the legislation will make it easer for kids to get alcohol. John Stevens owns a store In Jacksonville.
“It’s in a liquor store that where every kid that walks in is stopped. I don’t have 16 year olds or 17 year olds coming into my store, and neither does anybody else because we stop them. Once you put it on the stores, there’re gonna get it” Stephens told the committee.
The change is being pushed by big box stores like Walmart and Target. Lobbyist Joseph Salzverg of Target told the committee the current law is hurting their customers.
“The way Target structures their business model, its a racetrack type of shopping , one stop shop. that’s why we currently don’t offer bifurcated stores in the state of Florida. this bill allow us to meet our customers needs, and we appreciate the representative for bringing it forward” says the Target representative.
Two of the Committee’s fifteen members were not in the room when the vote was taken.